Castaways rescued from Pacific island after writing 'help' on beach

Three people stranded on a remote Pacific island for days were rescued this week after palm fronds chanted “help” on the beach, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The trio, all sailors in their 40s, were fishing in a 20-foot open skip on an outboard motor near Byklode Atoll, and the Coast Guard said all three had “leading experience in these waters.”

But their motor breaks down and stops working, leaving them stranded on a small uninhabited island for more than a week, surviving on coconuts and well water.

The search began after a relative called rescue officials in Guam late last week to say he had not returned from Bigelot, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a Pacific nation that straddles the sea between the Philippines and Hawaii. .

A US Navy plane was dispatched from an air base in Japan According to the Coast Guard, a tip painted with palm fronds was found on the beach, extending the initial search area to more than 78,000 square nautical miles. Report. The Navy did not release the names of the soldiers.

The plane dropped “survival packages” for the three, and a crew from an airfield in Hawaii, who recovered their skiff in “good health” with some access to food and water, the Coast Guard said.

“As they approached the island, the skiff was damaged by the surf on the island and the surrounding shoals,” said Chief Warrant Officer Sarah Muir, US Coast Guard Micronesia, Sector Guam. said Stars and Stripes newspaper Thursday. She said the battery in their radio was dead.

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They ate meat from coconuts and “got water from a well on the island,” Muir told the paper. He said they had enough food to survive, “but not for long.”

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Oliver Henry was diverted for the rescue mission, which ended Tuesday when the ship returned the three men to another atoll, Bolowat, about 100 miles away.

Their “intelligent act was critical in directing rescue efforts directly to their location,” search and rescue coordinator Lt. Chelsea Garcia said in a statement the day the trio were found.

This isn't the first time that writing a sign on the beach has worked for people stranded in a bikelot.

In 2020, three other men disappeared off the Micronesia archipelago after they drifted off course and were reported to have washed up there after their boat ran out of fuel.

The trio wrote a large “SOS” sign in the sand, which was also visible from the sky, allowing the Coast Guard and Australian authorities to locate the island.

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