Castaways rescued after writing ‘HELP’ in palm fronds

Castaways rescued after writing 'HELP' in palm fronds
Castaways rescued after writing 'HELP' in palm fronds

Three men in their 40s washed up on a desert island found an ingenious way to be noticed by rescue teams — they spelled out “HELP” in palm fronds. The US Navy spotted the message and rescued the trio in good health.

Three men stranded on a Pacific island for a week were rescued after a US Navy aircraft found their “HELP” sign written out in palm fronds.

“In a remarkable testament to their will to be found, the mariners spelled out ‘HELP’ on the beach using palm leaves, a crucial factor in their discovery. This act of ingenuity was pivotal in guiding rescue efforts directly to their location,” said search and rescue mission coordinator Lieutenant Chelsea Garcia.

In a statement, the US Coast Guard said the men and their equipment were rescued on Tuesday and brought to Polowat Atoll. They were all in good health. No information was shared regarding their nationalities or identities.

Where were they going

The three were found on the deserted 32-acre Pikelot island, a part of the Federated States of Micronesia, 415 miles (667 kilometers) southeast of Guam, about 100 miles from where they had started their journey.

The trio, all in their forties and experienced mariners, had started a journey on March 31 on a 20-foot open skiff with an outboard motor from Polowat atoll.

Their niece informed authorities after they failed to return for six days, after which the Coast Guard and Navy began a search in an area of more than 78,000 square nautical miles.

Within a day, the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon aircraft spotted their “H-E-L-P” sign. A photograph taken by the Coast Guard showed they had made two makeshift shelters near the sign.

In August 2020, three other sailors were rescued from the same island after they wrote “SOS” on the beach sand and were spotted by Australian and US warplanes.

Source: Dw

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