Shipwreck survivor reunites with fishermen who saved her life 35 years ago


Desireé Rodriguez was just 9-years-old in 1986 when she was rescued from the Pacific Ocean by two fishermen after a shipwreck killed her father, mother, aunt, uncle and sister.

Three decades later, the now 44-year-old Desireé Campuzano and her rescuers, Mark Pisano and Paul Strasser, were reunited, according to People.

Strasser was on a fishing boat when he spotted something in the water several miles away. It was then that he saw a body floating in the water. A few minutes later, he spotted the 9-year-old girl shivering in her life jacket.

After her rescue, she was treated at the hospital for hypothermia and exhaustion after being the the frigid temperatures for nearly 20 hours. Up until recently, the rescuers had not seen the girl since she was saved.

"Desireé was a ghost," Strasser said. "We saved her, she's out in the world. And that's all we know. We had no clues on anybody that knew how to get ahold of her.”

The 44-year-old was raised by an aunt and uncle and is now the married mother of a 5-year-old boy.

In December, Philip Friedman launched a podcast, “Friedman Adventures,” that shared stories of fisherman talking about fishing trips and boats. In one episode, Pisano talked about the rescue that happened in 1986.

A podcast listener remembered working with a woman years earlier whose entire family had been killed in a boating accident.

“I was like, holy moly,” Pablo Peña said. “Wow, this is just surreal.”

He immediately wrote to Friedman who contacted Campuzano. They all agreed to set up a meeting.

“I feel like she’s sort of our daughter, in a way, because we brought her back to life,” Strasser said. “Even though we never knew each other.”

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