3 Stranded Boaters Rescued From Remote Pacific Island After Creating Large ‘HELP’ Message

(Photo via; U.S. Coast Guard)
(Photo via: U.S. Coast Guard)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
10:58 AM – Thursday, April 11, 2024

Three sailors who were stranded on a tiny Pacific island for more than a week have now been rescued after creating their own large-scale “HELP” message in the sand in order to catch the attention of any onlookers.


On Tuesday, the United States Coast Guard spotted the sign made from park tree leaves on the minute Pikelot Atoll, which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. 

They reportedly had been surviving on coconuts.

According to reports, the three men have not yet been identified but they are all said to be in their 40s and related to each other.

The Coast guard released a statement where they said that the trio had traveled on Easter Sunday in a traditional 20-foot skiff with an outboard motor from Polowat Atoll, which is around 115 miles away.

The Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Sub-Center in Guam had received a distress call from a woman who said her three uncles were missing and that they had not returned.

Lt. Chelsea Garcia said in a statement that the sailors’ palm tree sign alerted authorities to their whereabouts when a Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules aircraft spotted it from the sky.

“In a remarkable testament to their will to be found, the mariners spelled out ‘HELP’ on the beach using palm leaves, a crucial factor in their discovery. This act of ingenuity was pivotal in guiding rescue efforts directly to their location,” Garcia said. 

Lt. Cmdr. Christine Igisomar, who coordinated the rescue mission, also released a statement where she praised the efforts of the Coast Guard.

“Every life saved and every mariner returned home is a testament to the enduring partnership and mutual respect that characterizes our relationship, making a profound impact on the lives of individuals and the resilience of communities across the Federated States of Micronesia,” Igisomar said. 

The Coast Guard said that the rescue operation was hindered by poor weather and a lack of planes. “Persistent efforts” eventually saw the USCGC Oliver Henry, already at sea in Micronesia, diverted to join the rescue.

Additionally, they said that the plane dropped survival packages and a radio to the men while the Oliver  Henry went to pick them up. 

While using the radio, the sailors expressed that they were in “good health, had access to food and water, and recovered their skiff, which unfortunately sustained damage, rendering it and its outboard engine non-functional.”

After the men were rescued, they were taken back to Polowat. 

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