It looks like the story of lucky local boys Troy Driscoll and Josh Long, who in April 2005 spent six days adrift in a 15-foot boat off the S.C. and N.C. coast before being rescued, will be coming to living rooms across the nation sometime next year. The ABC Family Channel is producing a made-for-TV-movie about the boys’ adventure, dispatching writer Al Reinert – best known to date for his work on feature films Apollo 13 and Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within – to spend time with the boys and their families in Mt. Pleasant earlier this summer. There’s no firm air date yet, since the script is still in production and shooting hasn’t even begun, but the story of the boys’ disappearance and unlikely rescue seems ready-made for prime-team TV, rife as it was with search-and-rescue dramatics, finger-pointing, and religious overtones.
On April 24, 2005, Josh, 15 at the time, and Troy, then 17, took to the Atlantic to do some fishing. Problem was, they were in a 15-foot sailboat with no sail or motor, only a single oar, and no food, water, or life jackets. Not surprisingly, the two quickly found themselves adrift in the big blue, surviving on rainwater and raw jellyfish. While the Coast Guard looked to the south for the boys, local boaters urged them to look north instead. When a passing trawler finally picked up the dehydrated, famished kids, they were about seven miles off the coast of Bald Head, N.C., though there’d been speculation between the two that the coastline they saw was that of not America but Africa.
There’s plenty of juicy fodder for TV drama in the tale: the recriminations the boys’ parents heaped on the Coast Guard for not listening to them; the fact that the boys ditched their fishing gear two days in, content to pray, sing hymns, and put trust for their recovery in God (their first question to their rescuer was reportedly “Are you a Christian?”). Since their adventure, the pair have become something of a cause célèbre among local churches, even producing a 28-minute video of their own to screen before their speaking presentations, or “testimony,” as they call it, according to one of the boys’ mothers. They’re proof, say local religious types, that God takes care of his faithful. Apparently the Big Guy was looking the other way when they put to sea. –Patrick Sharbaugh