After disappearing without a trace from a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean, a dog named Luna was presumed dead. But in a remarkable and unexpected twist, Luna was found alive and well this week on an island 80 miles off the coast of San Diego -- more than a month after her disappearance.
Fisherman Nick Haworth first reported Luna's disappearance on the morning of Feb. 10. According to The Guardian, Luna had vanished, presumably after falling off the fishing boat, while Haworth and a crew member were busy hauling in a catch.
“He told us Luna was a very powerful swimmer and that he was 90 percent sure she'd head for shore,” Sandy DeMunnik, public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy's Naval Base Coronado, told ABC News. “So our staff searched the island, but with no luck. He stayed in the area for two more days to look for her, and after a week, we considered her lost at sea and presumed dead.”
Haworth mourned the apparent tragedy on Facebook:
On Tuesday, about five weeks after Luna first went missing, the dog was discovered “wagging her tail” on a roadside on San Clemente Island. She was found by Navy service members who’d just arrived on the island for work.
“There are no domestic animals on the island, so when they saw the dog they all thought ‘where the heck did the dog come from?’” DeMunnik told the BBC. “That is the most amazing dog, we send people out there for serious training, and she did it all on her own.”
The 1-year-old German shepherd mix is believed to have swum across 2 miles of “treacherous” waters to get to safety, DeMunnik said. Once on the island, Luna likely survived off mice.
“It was a long haul for a puppy across treacherous terrain,” DeMunnik told The Guardian. “She was a little thinner, but none the worse for wear.”
Haworth celebrated his dog’s return on Facebook this week. “Beyond stoked to have Luna back,” he wrote. “I always knew she was a warrior.”