Men rescued from uninhabited Pacific island after writing SOS in sand

The men had been missing for nearly three days.
The men had been missing for nearly three days.

Three men have been rescued from a Pacific island after writing SOS in the sand, authorities say.

The men had been missing in the Micronesia archipelago for nearly three days when their distress signal was spotted on Sunday on uninhabited Pikelot Island by searchers on Australian and US aircraft.

The trio had set out from Pulawat atoll in a boat on July 30 and had intended to travel about 25 miles to Pulap atoll when they sailed off course and ran out of fuel, the Australian Defence Force said.

Searchers in Guam asked for Australian help and the military ship Canberra which was returning to Australia from exercises in Hawaii, diverted to the area and joined forces with US crews.

The men were found about 120 miles from where they had set out.

The Canberra’s commanding officer, Captain Terry Morrison, said: “I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfil our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world.”

The men were found in good condition, and an Australian military helicopter was able to land on the beach and give them food and water before being picked up by a Micronesian patrol boat.