3 men saved after rescuers spotted a huge SOS in the sand on remote Pacific island

It reads like a Hollywood script (or the first episode of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’), but this time it was for real. And it worked. 3 men were rescued from a tiny western Pacific island after scrawling a giant SOS sign into the sand. It was able to be seen by rescue aircraft.

The men had gone missing in the Micronesia group of island for nearly 3 days when their SOS sign was spotted on the uninhabited Pikelot Island, part of a remote group of tiny atolls and islands called the Caroline Islands, by Australian and US rescue aircraft. The area is about 800 kilometres south of Guam.

The men had set out from Pulawat atoll in a 7 metre boat last Thursday intending to travel about 43 kilometres to the Pulap atoll but they ended up veering off course and ran out of fuel. They ended up marooned about 190 kilometres from where they’d started.

Searchers in Guam called on Australian rescue services for help. The military ship HMAS Canberra, returning to Australia from exercises in Hawaii at the time, was diverted to the western Pacific to help US searchers.

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The men were found about 190 kilometres (118 miles) from where they had set out.

An Australian military helicopter spotted the huge SOS scratched into the sandy beach and was able to land and provide the trio with food and water.

Search and rescue pilot, Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, said that they were near the end of their search patterns.

“We turned to avoid some rain showers and that’s when we looked down and saw an island, so we decide to check it out and that’s when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach.

The HMAS Canberra commanding officer, Capt. Terry Morrison said he was proud of the response and professionalism of all on board.

“We fulfilled our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world.”

The 3 men were found in good condition and a Micronesian patrol vessel was picked them up.


3 men saved after rescuers spotted a huge SOS in the sand on remote Pacific island | News by Thaiger

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