US military, watchers rescue 3 men from deserted Pacific island

Two of three men stranded on an island in Micronesia waving life jackets, with palm fronds on the sand spelling the word "HELP", on April 7, 2016.
Two of three men stranded on an island in Micronesia waving life jackets, with palm fronds on the sand spelling the word "HELP", on April 7, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The US military said it has helped rescue three stranded men from a deserted Pacific island, after the shipmen used palm fronds to spell the word "HELP" and held up lifejackets.

Navy airplane crew members spotted the survivors and shared their location with relatives as well as with ships in Guam. A small boat then picked the men up and took them to Pulap in Micronesia, the US Coast Guard said Thursday (April 7).

The mariners were back to safety on Thursday, three days after going missing. Authorities did not provide any further details about the men.

The Navy crew aboard a P-8 Madfox 807 and vessels had been searching for the men in the area of the last known location of their skiff.

Bulk carriers Brilliant Jupiter and Ten Yu Maru, conducted 17 hours of search across some 286 km.

"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," US Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant William White said in a statement.