NewsStranded at sea. Rescued sailors saved by 'HELP' sign on an island

Stranded at sea. Rescued sailors saved by 'HELP' sign on an island

Sailors saved because they created a "help" sign out of leaves
Sailors saved because they created a "help" sign out of leaves
Images source: © East News
1:06 PM EDT, April 12, 2024

The Coast Guard successfully located three sailors stranded on a small island in the Pacific for a week. Their rescue was facilitated by the word "help," crafted from palm leaves.

According to US services, the men, all seasoned sailors in their forties, embarked on a journey from the atoll of Polowat on Easter Sunday in their 20-meter (approximately 66 feet) open boat, powered by an outboard engine.

However, on April 6, six days after their departure, the Coast Guard in Guam received a call from a woman reporting that her three uncles had failed to return to their home on Pikelot, around 100 nautical miles (about 115 miles) northwest of Polowat, as expected.

The US Coast Guard and Navy promptly initiated a joint search and rescue operation. Despite challenging weather conditions and scarce resources in the region, a crew from the United States Navy aboard a P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Japan was dispatched to the search area.

Their ingenuity saved them

“The sailors crafted the word 'HELP' on the beach from palm leaves, a crucial element in their discovery,” stated Lieutenant Chelsea Garcia, the search and rescue mission coordinator. “This brilliant strategy was pivotal in guiding the rescue efforts to their exact location,” she continued.

The aircraft crew dropped rescue packages to the men until further assistance could arrive. The following day, a Coast Guard plane from Hawaii delivered a radio, enabling direct communication with the stranded sailors, who reported being in good health with access to food and water. They also informed that their boat had sustained damage and the engine was broken. The USCGC Oliver Henry reached the sailors on Tuesday morning and brought them home.

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