Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire, and written by Joseph Curl.
It never worked for the SS Minnow crew and passengers stranded on Gilligan's Island, but it saved three sailors marooned on an island in the Pacific Ocean.
The men, who had been missing in the Micronesia archipelago for nearly three days, wrote a giant SOS sign in the sand on the uninhabited Pikelot Island. Their signal was spotted by searchers on Australian and U.S. aircraft, the Australian defense department said Monday.
"The men had apparently set out from Pulawat atoll in a 7-meter (23-foot) boat on July 30 and had intended to travel about 43 kilometers (27 miles) to Pulap atoll when they sailed off course and ran out of fuel, the department said,"
the Associated Press reported
In was a tough search: the Federated States of Micronesia, located in the western Pacific Ocean, has more than 600 islands.
After the men disappeared, searchers in Guam asked for help from Australian, which diverted the military ship Canberra — returning home from exercises in Hawaii — to the area and joined U.S. searchers from Guam.
The men had gone far off course, being found nearly 120 miles from where they had set out.
"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 in the world,"
the Canberra's commanding officer, Capt. Terry Morrison, said in a statement.
All three men were in good shape when an Australian military helicopter landed on the beach and give them food and water. A Micronesian patrol vessel was due to pick them up, the AP said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the crew of the FSS Independence rescued the mariners, and is transporting them back to their home on Pulap.
Capt. Christopher Chase, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam, said the rescue was successful because of partnerships. "This is what made this search and rescue case successful. Through coordination with multiple response organizations, we were able to save three members of our community and bring them back home to their families," Chase said in a statement
"This case highlights the importance of having a plan, and making sure your family knows when you are expected to return. Timely activation of the Search and Rescue System by the mariners' families allowed us to quickly respond with surface and aviation resources. We greatly appreciate the support of the Air Force, Royal Australian Navy, and FSM."
The search was nearly called for the day before the men were spotted, the statement said.
- At 3:09 p.m., August 1, one of the Air Force KC-135 crews was completing the final leg of their search pattern for the day when they located the stranded mariners on Pikelot Island.
- "We were toward the end of our search pattern, we turned to avoid some rain showers and that's when we looked down and saw an island, so we decide to check it out and that's when we saw S.O.S and a boat right next to it on the beach," said Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, the KC-135 pilot. "From there we called in HMAS Canberra because they had two helicopters nearby that could assist and land on the island."