Beach SOS Saves Men Stranded On Tiny Micronesian Island
4 August 2020 International News
An “SOS” message written on the beach of a tiny Pacific island pointed rescuers to three missing mariners, United States and Australian authorities said Tuesday.
The three men had set out in a 23-foot (7 meter) boat last Thursday to make a 26-mile (42 kilometer) journey from Pulawat to Pulap atolls in the Federated States of Micronesia.
They went off course and ran out of fuel, landing on tiny, uninhabited Pikelot Island, 118 miles (190 kilometers) from their intended destination, according to US and Australian authorities.
The islands are about 500 miles (800 kilometers) south of Guam, and when the men didn’t arrive in Pulap, a search was requested through the US Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Sub Center in Guam, which enlisted help from units in the region.
The three Micronesian men were first spotted by a US Air Force KC-135 tanker operating out of Andersen Air Force Base on Guam after searching for three hours, according to a posting on the base’s Facebook page.”We were toward the end of our search pattern,” the KC-135 pilot, Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, said in the post.
“We turned to avoid some rain showers and that’s when we looked down and saw an island, so we decide to check it out and that’s when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach. From there we called in the Australian Navy because they had two helicopters nearby that could assist and land on the island.”