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3 Castaways Rescued From Deserted Island After Writing 'Help' Using Palm Leaves

Apr 11, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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In the movie "Castaway," Tom Hanks and his "buddy" Wilson were rescued after they spent four years stranded on an Island due to a plane crash. If you think this only happens in the movies, think again. The U.S. Coast Guard reported on Facebook that three men were rescued after being stranded on a deserted island in Hawaii.

"Through efforts by the Coast Guard and the Navy's U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet, Joint Region Marianas these three men were found on the deserted Pacific Island of Fanadik," the U.S. Coast Guard wrote.

The Guardian reported that their skiff capsized due to bad weather Monday night. Since it was dark, the three survivors had no choice but to swim to safety. Luckily, they were able to reach the island of Fanadik after swimming for two miles supported only with their life vests.

It took the authorities three days to locate the castaways. Thanks to their unique SOS signal, the three castaways wrote the word "HELP" using palm leaves.

Chuuk's search and rescue liaison officer alerted the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday that the ship carrying the three men haven't returned to base. That's when the authorities launched a search and rescue operation, which lasted for three days.

The U.S. Coast Guard further said, "The men were located by Navy P-8A aircrew Thursday in a search designed and coordinated by Coast Guard search and rescue controllers at Sector Guam. Once sighted, the information was relayed back to the family in Chuuk who launched another vessel to the island and mariners were recovered arriving safely to Pulap."

The U.S. Coast Guard also attributed the success of rescue effort to all who coordinated and volunteered to find the castaways. Lt. Wiliam White, Public Affairs Officer of Sector Guam said in a press release, "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."

In the press release, he further explained how the rescue operation to save the castaways from the deserted island was executed. After Chuuk's report that the men haven't returned, it was immediately coordinated to Navy -8 aircrew, who spotted the palm leaves writing. AMVER vessels, Brilliant Jupiter and Ten Yu Maru were then diverted to conduct a 17-hour, 178-mile search of the area.

The three castaways were fortunate to be rescued three days after their ship capsized, unlike Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who in In 2012 spent 14 months at sea before he was rescued, as per People.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific, which mans a total of 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, the successful rescue of the three castaways is proof that partnership with other departments such as the navy and other search and rescue teams are essential in fulfilling their duties.

Meanwhile, the three castaways had a fair share of fame when ABC News asked them to share their story. See the video below.

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