Three men were rescued from a deserted island in the western Pacific after a U.S. Navy patrol plane spotted the word H-E-L-P spelled out on the sand in a real life castaway drama.
The drama began Monday when the three men set out on their 19-foot skiff from Pulap in the state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. The men reported that a few hours after their departure their vessel was capsized by a large wave, and they spent the night swimming until they reached the uninhabited island of Fandadik, located approximately four nautical miles from Pulap.
Coordinating the search, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted the help of commercial vessels participating in the AMVER program and requested air support from the Navy to search the waters in the region.
Three days later, the men were spotted by a Navy P-8A aircrew on Thursday as they waved life jackets and stood next to a large “help” sign made of palm leaves. A small boat was then able to recover the men from the island with no reported injuries.
“Ingenuity of these men to build their sign and the preparedness of having lifejackets also contributed to their safe rescue,” the Coast Guard said in a statement on Facebook.