Lost and thankfully found! Three men who were stranded on the uninhabited remote island of Fanadik off the coast of Micronesia in the South Pacific were miraculously rescued last week after writing the word "Help" with palm fronds.
The castaways are mariners whose sailboat sank after a large wave swallowed the vessel almost a week ago. The men were forced to swim 2 miles that night to the shore, where they found themselves on the remote desert island, which is one of the more than 600 islands that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia.
The men had been reported missing by the Coast Guard since last Tuesday, April 5, and were stranded on the island for three days. It remains unknown what the men ate to survive the next three days. The U.S. Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific shared photos from the rescue mission and wrote: "This isn't the set of Castaway… Through efforts by the Coast Guard and the Navy's U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet, Joint Region Marianas these three men were found on the remote Pacific Island of Fanadik."
A spokesperson for the Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooer, told CNN this past weekend that a Navy P-8 aircrew based in Japan saw the "help" sign and the missing men waving their bright orange life jackets early Thursday. A startling image from the rescue showed the word "Help" drawn out in green letters against the sandy white coastline of the island.
"There are not a lot of resources in that region," Mooer told CNN. "It's very small and very remote."
She added that this isn't the first search and rescue mission this past year. The U.S. Coast Guard has apparently executed seven separate missions, and saved 15 lives since last month alone.
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