Society

Navy Airship Spots 'Help' Written Below, Rescues Three

| by Sheena Vasani
IslandIsland

Three castaways were rescued April 7 after a U.S. Navy aircraft spotted the word "help" written with palm trees on an island beach.

"Our combined efforts coupled with the willingness of many different resources to come together and help, led to the successful rescue of these three men in a very remote part of the Pacific," said Lt. William White, Sector Guam public affairs officer, in an April 7 U.S. Coast Guard press release.

Family members reported the three men missing April 2 after they failed to catch a flight, USA Today reports.

The unidentified men were reportedly touring the area by themselves with a boat when they were left stranded on the island.

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"When they did not arrive for the flight, Coast Guard was notified," Michael McCandless, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class  said. "We began coordination efforts, using a combination of assets. It was determined a Navy P-8 aircraft out of Japan would assist."

Miraculously, around the same time, the U.S. Coast Guard says they were also busy coordinating other rescue efforts.

“Since March 28, watchstanders throughout the Coast Guard 14th District have coordinated rescue efforts in the Pacific for seven separate search and rescue cases of this nature, involving 10 AMVER vessels and six aircrews resulting in 15 lives saved,” the April 7 press release reveals.

They say they couldn’t have done it without help, however.

"The Coast Guard 14th District covers an area of responsibility more than 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, an area almost twice the size of Russia," said Jennifer Conklin, search and rescue mission coordinator at the Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu. "Oftentimes, we are thousands of miles away from those who need help and because of that our partnerships with the Navy, other search and rescue organizations, partner Pacific nations and AMVER are essential."

They’re not the first rescued castaways to capture national attention.

In December 2012, Jose Salvador Alvarenga from Mexico went fishing for sharks, CNN reports. He was not seen for another year.

"God. My faith in God,” he said in response to what got him through. "I thought, 'I am going to get out,' " he said. "Get out, get out, get out."

Sources: USA Today, U.S. Coast Guard Press ReleaseCNN / Photo credit: Expedia
 

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