Sailors Stranded on Remote Desert Island in Pacific Rescued After Writing Giant SOS Message on Sand

Three men were discovered by a joint Australian and American search team. Despite being on the island for three days, the sailors remained fine.

Three sailors from Micronesia, a group of tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean, were taken off course during their marine journey by natural forces and ended up on a small desert island called Pikelot on July 30. They decided to seek help by carving giant SOS letters in the sands of a Beach and getting spotted by Australian and American defence forces.

These men had sailed from an atoll called Pulawat and their destination was another atoll named Pulap. The distance between the two points was around 27 miles (43 kilometers). Their boat was 23 feet long. However, when they veered off course, they ran out of fuel and had to take shelter in the uninhabited, tiny island.

Pikelot Island
A helicopter reaches out to stranded sailors who had scribbled SOS Twitter

The search operation

The search for the men was conducted initially by the Pacific Rescue and Coordination of Guam. They then asked for help from the Australian forces. To the advantage of the search, a ship of the Australian armed forces, Canberra, was on its way back to the homeland. The ship turned towards the search area and joined up with the search team sent by Americans from Guam.

The SOS sign was spotted by the joint search team. Apparently, the three men had ended up 118 miles (190 kilometers) from their starting point. A helicopter from the same military ship, Canberra, was sent to the island and landed there on August 3. The rescue team brought food and water to the three men. The stranded sailors were found to be in a good state.

Pikelot Island
Pikelot Island where the sailors were stranded Twitter

"I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfill our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world," Captain Terry Morrison, commanding officer of Canberra ship, said in a statement.

Such incidents have often been depicted in movies and television dramas. Desert islands are common in Micronesia which consists of about 600 habited and inhabited islands. An atoll is an island or a coral reef which is in the shape of a ring, not necessarily circular, with a lagoon – a large water pool – located within. The island called Pikelot is to the north of the Papuan island.