Giant SOS in sand gets 3 men rescued from tiny Pacific island

Cheryl Sanders
August 4, 2020

They had been missing in the Micronesia archipelago for nearly three days until their signal was spotted on Sunday on uninhabited Pikelot Island by searchers on Australian and U.S. aircraft, reported AP.

Three men have been rescued from a Pacific island after writing SOS in the sand, authorities say.

The men were found about 190 kilometers (118 miles) from where they had set out.

The men blew off course and ran out of fuel in a seven-metre (23-foot) skiff between two of the 600-plus islands and atolls that make up Micronesia. Rescuers said they were "in good condition" with no significant injuries.


A helicopter dispatched from Australia's HMAS Canberra flew to the island with food and water and found the three men in good condition.

Morrison commands the HMAS Canberra, which sent a helicopter to the rescue after officials in the USA territory of Guam raised the alarm, following the men's failure to complete a 42-kilometre trip between Pacific atolls.

The Australian Defence Force had been asked to support a search-and-rescue effort by the Rescue and Coordination Centre in Guam on August 1 after reports the men were missing.

Authorities in Guam, a nearby U.S. territory, initiated the search on Saturday, after the men failed to complete a 42km (26 miles) trip from Pulawat to Pulap atolls.


The vessel's commanding officer, Captain Terry Morrison, said the response was outstanding.

In particular, our embarked MRH90 helicopter from No. 808 Squadron and the four armed reconnaissance helicopters from 1st Aviation Regiment were instrumental in the morning search that helped locate the men and deliver supplies and confirm their welfare.

Instead their vessel ended up at Pikelot Island, almost 200km west of where they had set off.


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