Makeshift S.O.S. sign leads to desert island rescue
Sunday, April 10, 2016, 11:06 AM - It's a rescue story made for the movies, but the reality of it is quite harrowing.
Three mariners were rescued from desert island after the group used palm fronds to spell the word "help" along the shore.
The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard spotted the S.O.S as their Navy plane flew over the uninhabited Pacific island. By that point, the sailors were stranded on Fanadik Island for three days, CNN reports. The island is located more than 4,000 km southwest of Honolulu.
The sailors' arrived on the island after their small vessel was overcome by a large wave. They swam more than three kilometres at night to reach safety, U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Sara Mooer told CNN.
The island belongs to the Federated States of Micronesia, a group of more than 600 islands. The U.S. Coast Guard holds search and rescue missions on behalf of the region due to the latter's lack of local capacity, CNN reports.
Since March 28, the U.S. Coast Guard has held seven different search and rescue missions in this area, Mooer told CNN. These efforts have saved 15 lives.
Search and rescue operations are a collaborative effort from the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy, along with volunteer civilian vessels -- ten of which contributed to seven search operations in the last fortnight.