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This handout photo taken on August 2, 2020 and received on August 4 from the Australian Defence Force shows an Australian Army ARH Tiger helicopter landing near the letters "SOS" (C) on a beach on Pikelot Island where three men were found in good condition after being missing for three days.
Australian Army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, deliver food and supplies to three stranded mariners from the Federated States of Micronesia following a search and rescue mission, on Pikelot Island, August 3, 2020.
Australian and U.S. military aircraft have rescued three sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island, after spotting their giant SOS sign drawn into the sand on the beach.
On Sunday, a helicopter from Canberra spotted the sign on Pikelot Island, next to a makeshift shelter where the sailors had been stranded for three days. Rescuers, after landing on the tiny island to check the men’s wellbeing and give them supplies, said that they were in ‘good condition’ with no major injuries.
Pikelot, a low coral islet less than a half kilometre long, is uninhabited and heavily forested, and home to a seabird rookery and a turtle nesting site.
The three men, from Micronesia — a group of more than 600 small islands in the Pacific Ocean — were supposed to complete a 42-kilometre trip between the Poluwat and Pulap atolls (coral reefs) but went missing after their skiff ran out of fuel and went off course. Eventually they landed on Pikelot Island, nearly 200 kilometres west of their intended route. Authorities in the U.S. territory of Guam had raised the alarm for the missing men on Saturday.
“I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfill our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are,” the Australian Navy’s Capt. Terry Morrison said in a defence department statement.
A Micronesian patrol vessel is sailing to the island to pick up the men, the statement added.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020