Newspaper Article titled: 3 Rescued After Drifting 83 Days on Raft

3 Rescued After Drifting 83 Days on Raft

Good- Miami, Fla. (P) A young seaman, one of three men who drifted S3 days on a life raft after their ship was torpedoed in the south Atlantic, arrived here safely to tell of the epic struggle against the sea. Prayers Were Answered Basil D. Izzi, navy gunner, of South Barre, Mass., related the story, describing how their daily prayers were answered by showers of rain, and by birds and fish which came close enough to be caught for food. "I knew God was with me all the way," Izzi declared. He and his companions, two Dutch merchant seamen, survived the longest journey on a life raft recorded since the war began. Two others, ensign James Mad-dox, of Lafayette, Ind., and George Beasley, both of the U. S. navy, died during the trip and were given sea burial. Ship Torpedoed Nov. 24 The ship, a united nations freighter, was torpedoed Nov. 24. Izzi, member of the gun crew of which Maddox was the commander. said he jumped overboard when the vessel sank. He clung to wreckage for two days, then was found by those on the life raft and pulled aboard. On January 24, they sighted an airplane. The following day they saw a convoy and signalled an escort vessel which took them aboard. The day after Izzi was taken aboard the life raft the group sighted a second raft with six men on it. "They said they needed help and we tried to get to them, but the seas were running against us and we lost sight of them," said Izzi "They were the last men from our ship that we saw." Food Lasted 16 Days Provisions on Izzi's raft included ten gallons of water, nine cans of milk, a box of chocolate and a few dozen biscuits. The food lasted 16 days but the water held out nine days longer. "We had attracted birds and fish the first few days by feeding them pieces of biscuit," Izzi related. "We expected then to be picked up pret ty soon." With the food gone, however, the party had to rely entirely on its catches. Ihe first, a four-foot shark was caught by means of A lasso, "The fish swam through the noose and we caught it by the tail," Izzi explained. "The birds I think we caught about 23 of them alighted on the raft because the sea was too rough for them to come down in the wa ter." Two Companions Die After three weeks adrift Beasley became ill but did not die until the 6fith day. Maddox died on the 77th day. Izzi said the men prayed each evening on week days and "all day on Sundays." The navy has kept no official ac counts of the number of days survivors have drifted on life rafts during the war, although officers expressed belief the 83 days of Izzi and his companions was a record. a