Missing sailors found on desert island after they write SOS in sand

4 August 2020, 08:19

Three sailors have been rescued after their SOS sign was seen from the air
Three sailors have been rescued after their SOS sign was seen from the air. Picture: Australian Defence Force

By Kate Buck

Three sailors who became stranded on a Pacific island have been rescued after their make-shift SOS sign was spotted by helicopter crews.

The Micronesian men were discovered on the tiny Pikelot island by US Navy and Australian aircrew, more than 200km from where they had originally set off.

They had been missing for three days before the their seven-metre skiff ran out of fuel and ran off course from their 42km trip from Pulawat to Pulap atolls.

Authorities in Guam raised the alarm of the missing men, which Australia’s HMAS Canberra picked up during a journey from Australia to Hawaii.

It was only when a helicopter from the Canberra spotted the men's giant SOS, which was next to a makeshift shelter they had built.

When the crew landed, the men were in good health, and no injuries were reported.

A Micronesian patrol vessel is travelling to the island to pick the men up and reunite them with their families.

Canberra's Commanding Officer Captain Terry Morrison said: "I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfil our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world."