Missing men rescued from uninhabited Pacific island after writing SOS in sand

The men were missing in the Micronesia archipelago east of the Philippines for nearly three days when their “SOS” sign was spotted by searchers on Australian and U.S. aircraft. Credit: AP

Three men stranded on a desert island were rescued after their SOS in the sand was spotted from above.

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 aircrafts.

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 men were spotted from the air thanks to their SOS sign in the sand Credit: AP

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.