Missing Men Rescued From Desert Island After Writing SOS In Sand
Three missing sailors have been found stranded on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after making a huge 'SOS' sign in the sand.
The group were attempting to sail between atolls Poluwat and Pulap, a journey of just 42 kilometres, when they lost their way and ran out of fuel. They ended up on Pikelot island on 30 July, 90 kilometres west of where they were meant to be.
However, on Sunday (2 August), the sailors' sign was spotted by Australian and US aircraft and the three men were saved.
According to reports, the HMAS Canberra headed towards the island, with a helicopter landing on the beach and bringing the men some food and water.
They also carried out identity and health checks, and the group are said to be well.
According to reports, the Australian Defence Force's assistance had been requested by the Rescue and Coordination Centre in Guam on 1 August after it became known that the group had gone missing.
The HMAS Canberra then joined the search party, and after teaming up with a US Aircraft based in Guam, was able to locate the missing sailors.
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It's understood now that a Micronesian patrol vessel, FSS Independence, is en route to pick up the men and bring them to safety.
Speaking about the dramatic incident, Canberra's Commanding Officer Captain Terry Morrison praised the response of the Australian Defence Force.
In a statement, Captain Morrison said: "The ship's company responded to the call and had the ship quickly prepared to support the search and rescue.
"In particular, our embarked MRH90 helicopter from No. 808 Squadron and the four armed reconnaissance helicopters from 1st Aviation Regiment were instrumental in the morning search that helped locate the men and deliver supplies and confirm their welfare.
"I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfil our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world."
In 2018, three men had to be rescued from a tiny Pacific island after their boat capsized during a routine three-hour sail from Weno Island to Chuuk, in Micronesia.
They then had to swim two miles to shore in the middle of the night before spelling out 'HELP' using palm fronds and just waiting to be found.
Featured Image Credit: Australian Defence Force