3 Men, Stranded on Pacific Island for Days, Rescued After Spelling Out 'HELP' in Leaves on the Beach
Three men were rescued Thursday from the Pacific Ocean island where they had been stranded for three days, after flagging down rescuers with palm fronds used to spell out “HELP,” the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.
A photo of their makeshift announcement on the beach was released on Facebook Saturday by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, capturing the dramatic work of the stranded men in flagging down their rescuers.
The men were first located about 8 a.m. local time Thursday, the Coast Guard said in a news release. They were described as “safe,” but it was not immediately clear if they had suffered any injuries while stranded.
PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach Coast Guard representatives for comment.
The men were rescued on Fanadik island, about 2,600 miles southwest of Honolulu, according to CNN. They were transported to Pulap, in Micronesia; and were first spotted by a Navy aircrew, who saw the makeshift message and the men carrying lifejackets, the Coast Guard said.
The men were reported missing Tuesday morning after their boat, bound for the Micronesian island Weno, never arrived, the Coast Guard said.
Their boat was “swamped by a large wave” at night and the men were forced to swim two miles to the Fenadik shore, Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooer, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, told CNN.
The rescue was the work of the Coast Guard and the Navy, according to the news release. Ships had searched more more than 17 combined hours, over 178 miles, according to the release. The aircrew which ultimately spotted the men was dispatched Thursday at 6 a.m. local time.
“Our combined efforts, coupled with the willingness of many different resources to come together and help, led to the successful rescue of these three men in a very remote part of the Pacific,” Lt. William White, Sector Guam public affairs officer, said in the release.