June 29, 2017
Castaways: Three Men Rescued From Uninhabited Island After Spelling 'Help' with Palm Fronds On The Beach

In a scene similar to the popular 2000 Tom Hanks film, three castaways were rescued this week from the uninhabited island of Chuuk. The men were supposedly making a short trip on a 19-foot skiff between two Micronesian islands, but instead ended up shipwrecked on the deserted island of Chuuk.

The three castaways were making their way to the island of Weno on Monday, where they were scheduled to catch a late-morning flight. However, instead of a three-hour boat trip, the journey ended up being a three day ordeal.

NBC quotes U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman, Melissa McKenzie, as saying the three men were reported missing by family members on Monday, after they failed to catch their flight.

Lost as they were on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it seems the men took inspiration from the Tom Hanks' film Castaway by spelling out the word "Help" using palm fronds on the sandy beach.

When a U.S. Navy aircraft flew over the uninhabited island, the three castaways and their message were spotted, and according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer first Class Michael McCandless, they were waving their life jackets to draw attention.

"They had the word 'help' spelled out and were waving their lifejackets," McCandless told NBC.

According to McCandless, the Coast Guard was notified after the three men missed their flight on Weno.

"We began coordination efforts, using a combination of assets. It was determined a Navy P-8 aircraft out of Japan would assist."
Reportedly the Coast Guard's 14th District, based in Guam, covers an area of 12.2-million square miles of land and sea, including the islands of Micronesia.

The Coast Guard directed four ships to the area where the skiff was last believed to be and provided assistance with radar and lookout, while waiting for the U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft to arrive on the scene from Misawa Air Base.

"We gave [the aircraft] a starting and ending point, given an intended track of the missing vessel," McCandless added.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard Newsroom, AMVER vessels Brilliant Jupiter and Ten Yu Maru were diverted to the area and searched 178 miles of track-line over a period of 17 hours.

The Navy P-8 aircrew was launched at 6 a.m. Thursday to join in the search for the castaways and approximately two hours later, spotted the three men on the island of Chuuk.

"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," Lt. William White, the Sector Guam public affairs officer said.

When the three castaways were spotted with their sign on the beach, shortly prior to sunset on Thursday, the Coast Guard transported them by boat to a neighboring island.

The names of the three castaways were set to be released by the Micronesian authorities early on Friday, but, as of yet, no details of the identities of the three castaways have been revealed.

A similar story was reported on the Inquisitr back in 2014 when five snorkelers were rescued from an island off the Australian coast.

While exploring off the Mackay City coastline, the castaways – who were part of a larger group – decided to visit an uninhabited island. Problems arose when they tried to return to their boat, only to find it had broken anchor and drifted away.

In this case, the castaways wrote "SOS" in giant letters in the sand, which led to their successful rescue.

[Photo via Flickr by Global Environment Facility, cropped and resized/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]