The crew of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft located three men stranded on an uninhabited island in the Federated States of Micronesia last week, after the men swam ashore and wrote “help” on the beach with palm leaves.
On April 4 the men’s 19-foot skiff capsized in a large wave after they set sail from Pulap, FSM, according to a Navy statement. They said they spent hours swimming and finally reached the uninhabited Fandadik Island, about four nautical miles away. The men were not injured but were stranded on the island.
The Coast Guard’s Sector Guam Command Center received notification from a search and rescue liaison on Tuesday morning, after the men in the skiff failed to arrive on the island on Weno, according to a Navy post on Facebook. Coast Guard watchstanders coordinated with Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 out of Misawa, Japan, and other local vessels to assist in the search.
The three men spelled out “help” on the beach with palm leaves and stood nearby waving orange lifejackets, catching the attention of crew members on a P-8 from VP 5, in the midst of a routine deployment in U.S. 7th Fleet.
A small boat from Pulap, where the men began their adventure, was sent to pick them up from the island.