May 25, 2016

Aircraft Spots HELP Sign on Beach, Rescues 3 Men Stranded on Remote Island

Aircraft Spots HELP Sign on Beach, Rescues 3 Men Stranded on Remote Island (4)U.S. Navy photo by Ensign John Knight

 

Three men who were stranded on an uninhabited Pacific island for three days are safe, after using palm fronds to spell the word “HELP” in the sand on Fanadik Island in Micronesia.

The boaters had taken off three days prior (4 April 2016) from Pulap, Micronesia when their 19-foot skiff was capsized by a large wave shortly after departure.

 

Aircraft Spots HELP Sign on Beach, Rescues 3 Men Stranded on Remote Island (1)U.S. Navy photo by Ensign John Knight

 

The uninhabited island of Fanadik is located about 4 nautical miles from Pulap, and the three men said they spent the entire night swimming until they reached the island.

Watchstanders at the Sector Guam Command Center received notification from a Chuuk search and rescue liaison at 11:07 a.m. Tuesday of the overdue skiff en route the island of Weno. [source]

 

Aircraft Spots HELP Sign on Beach, Rescues 3 Men Stranded on Remote Island (2)U.S. Navy photo by Ensign John Knight

 

Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast, coordinated the assistance of the Navy P-8 aircrew and vessels in the area of the skiff’s last known location to assist in the search. AMVER vessels Brilliant Jupiter and Ten Yu Maru diverted and conducted a combined 17 hours and searched 178 miles of track-line. The Navy P-8 aircrew launched at 6 a.m. Thursday to assist in the search and located the men approximately two hours into their search.

“Our combined efforts coupled with the willingness of many different resources to come together and help, led to the successful rescue of these three men in a very remote part of the Pacific,” said Lt. William White, Sector Guam public affairs officer. [source]

 

Aircraft Spots HELP Sign on Beach, Rescues 3 Men Stranded on Remote Island (3)U.S. Navy photo by Ensign John Knight

 

AMVER, sponsored by the Coast Guard, is a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the vest-sited ship or ships to respond.

Since March 28, watchstanders throughout the Coast Guard 14th District have coordinated rescue efforts in the Pacific for seven separate search and rescue cases of this nature, involving 10 AMVER vessels and six aircrews resulting in 15 lives saved. [source]

 

 

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