Men Rescued From Deserted Island After Writing 'SOS' In The Sand
By Bill Galluccio
August 4, 2020
Three men were rescued after being stranded for nearly three days on a tiny deserted Pacific island. The three men set out in a 20-foot boat on July 29 and planned to travel from Pulawat to Pulap atolls in the Federated States of Micronesia. During the 30-mile journey, their boat ran out of fuel, and they got knocked off course.
They eventually ended up on the uninhabited Pikelot Island, which was about 120 miles from where they set out.
When the men didn't arrive at Pulap, authorities contacted U.S. Coast Guard's Joint Rescue Sub Center in Guam and requested help locating their vessel.
A U.S. Air Force KC-135 began flying search patterns over the area and noticed "SOS" had been written in the sand on a tiny island. The pilot radioed a nearby Australian boat, which dispatched rescue crews to Pikelot Island.
“We were toward the end of our search pattern,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, the KC-135 pilot. “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.”
The men were in good condition, and an Australian military helicopter provided them with food and water. The men were eventually taken home by a Micronesian patrol vessel.