Stranded survivors spend three days on deserted island after being shipwrecked.
Three men in the south Pacific have an ultimate tale of survival to tell after events early last week. The men set off sailing in a 19-foot skiff and ended their journey with a rescue straight out the movie “Castaway” or “Gilligan’s Island.”
The three unnamed men departed the island of Pulap and were sailing to Micronesia to catch a flight Monday a few hundred miles north of Papua New Guinea when their boat was swamped by rough seas in the dark and the men thrown into the sea.
For many people, being thrown into the ocean in the dark would be a death sentence, but this is no ordinary survival tale. Instead of accepting fate, the three men started swimming. And they swam for two miles before they found an atoll with a deserted island known as Fanadik.
As far away from the nearest American soil as the lost sailors were, the 14th district of the U.S. Coast Guard was notified of the missing men around noon Tuesday. The Guardian reports the 14th district patrols a massive area of more than 12.2 million square miles of sea and land.
And it was a good thing they were involved. The Coast Guard was able to get the word out to other vessels in the sailor’s last known location to be on the lookout. At least two cargo ships diverted to help in the search.
On the island meanwhile, the three men took the typical efforts to try and speed up their rescue. They spelled out “HELP” in palm fronds on the beach and lit a signal fire.
Even though in the movies, such as “Castaway,” these efforts aren’t typically portrayed as successful in getting the stranded person or persons rescued, this incident proves that it works in real life. A navy plane on Thursday morning first spotted the fire and then the word on the 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,” Lt William White said.
The sailor’s families were quickly notified they were alive and a boat was dispatched to retrieve the men and bring them back to Pulap after three days on Fanadik. The Coast Guard praised the efforts of their partners who helped search and the men’s preparedness in having life jackets on board to help them reach land.
The Coast Guard posted photos of the men on the beach on Facebook. Their makeshift help sign is clearly visible. “This isn’t the set of Castaway,” the post said.
Tom Hanks portrayed a character who spent four years on a deserted South Pacific island in that movie. While these men were only on the island for three days, their story is none the less impressive and they’ve got a heck of a story to tell now.
There was no word on if they turned a volleyball into their new friend named Wilson however.
Images via Facebook.