Saved sailors from tiny Pacific island after constructing 'HELP' leaf sign.

The U.S. Coast Guard saw a palm tree leaf "HELP" sign from the sky and rescued three sailors stranded on a tiny Pacific atoll for almost a week.

The three guys were found Tuesday night on Federated States of Micronesia's minute Pikelot Atoll. They subsisted on coconuts.

The unidentified 40-year-old trio, who are related, made their urgent plea with palm tree branches. The Coast Guard and Navy coordinated their rescue.

The Coast Guard said that the sailors left Polowat Atoll, 115 miles distant, in a 20-foot skiff with an outboard motor on Easter Sunday. A woman called the Coast Guard's Joint Rescue Sub-Center in Guam to report her three uncles missing from Pikelot Atoll.

The search area started at around 78,000 square nautical miles. Only a Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules airplane saw the sailors' palm tree symbol to locate them.

The seamen spelled ‘HELP’ on the beach with palm leaves, a tribute to their will to be found. Ingenuity guided rescue efforts to their location, Lt. Chelsea Garcia said.

“Every life saved and every mariner returned home is a testament to the enduring partnership and mutual respect that characterizes our relationship, making a profound impact on the lives of individuals and the resilience of communities across the Federated States of Micronesia,” said rescue coordinator Lt. Cmdr. Christine Igisomar.

Pikelot Atoll, an uninhabited coral island 415 miles southeast of Guam, is infrequently visited by fishing boats. A Micronesian sailing expedition found an abandoned improvised Catholic chapel in 2000.

The Coast Guard said weather and plane shortages hampered rescue efforts. USCGC Oliver Henry, already in Micronesia, was redirected to rescue after “persistent efforts”.

On the radio, the sailors reported being in “good health, had access to food and water, and recovered their skiff, which unfortunately sustained damage, rendering it and its outboard engine non-functional,” the Coast Guard stated.


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