An isolated and uninhabited island… and, three sailors were stuck there! It was, seemingly, not possible for them to return to their respective homes from the island. However, three large characters, written on the sand, finally saved their lives! Otherwise, they might have to spend their entire lives on that lonely island.
The Federated States of Micronesia is a country spread across the western Pacific Ocean, comprising more than 600 islands. The three sailors had been missing for three days, after their 23ft skiff ran out of fuel near Pikelot Island. As it was not possible for them to contact the outside world, they wrote ‘SOS’ (Save Our Souls) on the coastal sand.
Australian and the US military aircraft spotted their SOS message on August 2, and immediately informed the concerned authorities in Guam; upon which Guam’s Pacific Rescue and Coordination Centre issued a warning, and sent helicopters to rescue the sailors. An Australian helicopter from the HMAS Canberra, which was on its way to Hawaii for naval exercises, landed on the tiny island. The crewmembers rescued the three sailors, giving them food and water. Later, the sailors were sent to their respective homes by a Micronesian patrol vessel.
Talking to the media, Captain Terry Morrison of the Australian Navy said: “I am proud of the response and professionalism of all onboard, as we fulfil our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are.“
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