Pacific Island Rescue | God's World News
Pacific Island Rescue
News Shorts
Posted: April 15, 2024
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    Three stranded sailors spelled out the word “HELP” with palm fronds on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia. (U.S. Coast Guard)
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    The U.S. Coast Guard crew of Oliver Henry rescues three men on Pikelot Atoll on April 9, 2024. (U.S. Coast Guard)
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    This map shows Pikelot Atoll and Pulawat Atoll. (AP Graphic)
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Three men were stranded on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. They had no way to call rescuers. So they collected palm fronds. They spelled out the word HELP on the beach. It worked! Pilots spotted the sign.

The men had set out from Pulawat Atoll on March 31. (An atoll is a ring-shaped island.) That small island is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. About 1,000 people live on Pulawat.

The men were fishing when they hit a coral reef. It tore a hole in the 20-foot boat’s bottom. The boat started taking on water. “They knew they weren’t going to be able to make their return home and would need to beach their vessel,” says Coast Guard Lieutenant Keith Arnold. They landed on Pikelot Atoll.

On April 6, a relative reported the men missing to a Coast Guard facility in Guam. A big search began.

A U.S. Navy crew from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan spotted the three on Pikelot. The plane dropped survival packages. The next day, another plane dropped a radio. The men used it to report they were thirsty but otherwise fine.

“The help sign was pretty visible. We could see it from a couple thousand feet in the air,” Lieutenant Arnold says.

A Coast Guard ship picked up the men on Tuesday. It took them to their home 100 miles away.

When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. — Psalm 91:15