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After writing "HELP" in palm leaves on a remote island, castaways were rescued.

After writing "HELP" in palm leaves

By SamarPublished about a month ago 3 min read
In Micronesia, on the beach of Pikelot Atoll, palm fronds make a cry for assistance.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that this week, three castaways who had been left stranded on a secluded Pacific islet for days were rescued after using palm fronds to form the word "HELP" on the sand.

The Coast Guard said that the three men, who were all mariners in their 40s, went fishing near Pikelot Atoll in a 20-foot open skiff with an outboard motor because they had "experience navigating these waters."

However, the castaways' motor broke down and stopped functioning, leaving them stranded on the small, deserted island for over a week as they subsisted on coconuts and well water.

The three had not returned from Pikelot, which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a Pacific nation made up of numerous islands strewn across the ocean between the Philippines and Hawaii, according to a relative who contacted rescue officials in Guam last weekend. This prompted the search for the missing individuals.

According to a Coast Guard statement, the help sign made of palm fronds on the beach was noticed by a U.S. Navy aircraft that was sent from an air base in Japan. This led to the initial search area being narrowed down from over 78,000 square nautical miles. The names of the mariners were kept secret.

The men, who "were in good health" with some access to food and water and had recovered their skiff, were given "survival packages" by that aircraft, and a crew from an air station in Hawaii then dropped a radio to get in touch with them, according to the Coast Guard.

Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia, Sector Guam, told the Stars and Stripes newspaper on Thursday that the skiff was damaged when they approached the island because of the swells surging on the island and surrounding shipyard. She mentioned that their radio's battery had run out.

According to Muir, "water was available through a well on the island," and they consumed meat from coconuts. They had enough food, she said, "but not for much longer," to get by.

The rescue effort involved the diverting of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Oliver Henry, and it concluded on Tuesday with the ship returning the three men to Polowat, another atoll approximately 100 miles distant.

The coordinator of the search and rescue mission on the day the three were found, Lt. Chelsea Garcia, said in the statement that their "act of ingenuity was pivotal in guiding rescue efforts directly to their location."

For castaways who were left stranded on Pikelot, posting a sign on the sand had previously proved effective.

Three more men are reported to have washed up in the Micronesia archipelago in 2020 after they ran out of fuel and drifted off course. The men went missing in the same area.

The Coast Guard and Australian authorities were able to locate the three of them on the island because they left a large "SOS" sign in the sand that was visible from above.

On Pikelot, where three men were discovered in August 2020, a military helicopter lands.

Three castaways who had written the word "help" in palm leaves on a beach were rescued from a small, isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. After spending more than a week stranded on the Pikelot Atoll in Micronesia, the three men were rescued on Tuesday night by the US Navy and Coastguard.

"The US Coast Guard, US Navy, and regional partners have demonstrated excellent coordination and partnership through this successful operation. We would like to thank everyone who was involved.

When the men heard the rescuers using a radio to establish contact, they confirmed they were well and had access to food and water.

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