SEVERE WX : Air Quality Alert View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'SOS' in the sand saves Pacific island mariners

An "SOS" message written on the beach of a tiny Pacific island pointed rescuers to three missing mariners, United States and Australian authorities said Tues...

Posted: Aug 4, 2020 6:10 AM
Updated: Aug 4, 2020 7:00 AM

An 'SOS' message written on the beach of a tiny Pacific island pointed rescuers to three missing mariners, United States and Australian authorities said Tuesday.

The three men had set out in a 23-foot (7 meter) boat last Thursday to make a 26-mile (42 kilometer) journey from Pulawat to Pulap atolls in the Federated States of Micronesia.

They went off course and ran out of fuel, landing on tiny, uninhabited Pikelot Island, 118 miles (190 kilometers) from their intended destination, according to US and Australian authorities.

The islands are about 500 miles (800 kilometers) south of Guam, and when the men didn't arrive in Pulap, a search was requested through the US Coast Guard's Joint Rescue Sub Center in Guam, which enlisted help from units in the region.

The three Micronesian men were first spotted by a US Air Force KC-135 tanker operating out of Andersen Air Force Base on Guam after searching for three hours, according to a posting on the base's Facebook page.

'We were toward the end of our search pattern,' the KC-135 pilot, Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, said in the post. 'We turned to avoid some rain showers and that's when we looked down and saw an island, so we decide to check it out and that's when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach. From there we called in the Australian Navy because they had two helicopters nearby that could assist and land on the island.'

A helicopter from the Australian amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra landed on the beach dropping off food and water for the stranded trio while Australian troops confirmed the men's identities and checked they had no major injuries.

Meanwhile, a US Coast Guard C-130 from Hawaii dropped a radio to the stranded men so they could communicate with a Micronesian patrol vessel dispatched from Yap.

A US Coast Guard statement said rescuers and the mariners kept their distance because of the coronavirus.

'After discussions between the responding partners it was decided the safest course of action for both the response agencies' crews and the mariners was to limit exposure to one another due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,' a Coast Guard statement said.

The patrol vessel reached the men around 8 p.m. local time Monday evening, according to the Andersen AFB Facebook post.

'Partnerships,' US Coast Guard Capt. Christopher Chase, commander of US Coast Guard Sector Guam, said the post. 'This is what made this search and rescue case successful. Through coordination with multiple response organizations, we were able to save three members of our community and bring them back home to their families.'

Capt. Terry Morrison, commander of the Canberra, praised his crew.

'I am proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfill our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world,' he said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33291

Reported Deaths: 555
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7257140
Marion474395
Washington458160
Umatilla299841
Clackamas244862
Malheur164230
Lane126717
Jackson11715
Deschutes85912
Yamhill76914
Jefferson5458
Polk53515
Linn52513
Morrow5096
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3226
Wasco2963
Klamath2902
Hood River2520
Douglas2394
Clatsop2180
Josephine2032
Columbia1821
Coos1580
Baker952
Crook631
Tillamook530
Lake330
Wallowa321
Curry310
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 815654

Reported Deaths: 15782
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2692846551
Riverside591731216
San Bernardino54849952
Orange535571249
San Diego46985781
Kern32019369
Fresno28517390
Sacramento22438412
Alameda21323408
Santa Clara21294318
San Joaquin20357447
Contra Costa16702206
Stanislaus16496359
Tulare16071263
Ventura12812150
Imperial11877317
San Francisco11238101
Monterey1000872
San Mateo9950150
Santa Barbara9133113
Merced8939143
Kings766180
Sonoma7412122
Marin6727118
Solano641969
Madera455765
San Luis Obispo359729
Placer359645
Butte283744
Yolo282555
Santa Cruz23799
Sutter171711
Napa170513
San Benito134811
Yuba11588
El Dorado11444
Mendocino93918
Shasta88320
Lassen7410
Glenn5933
Tehama5795
Lake55911
Nevada5407
Colusa5326
Humboldt5098
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa762
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 86°
Brookings
Few Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Crater Lake
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 82°
Grants Pass
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 88°
Klamath Falls
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 82°
Very warm, dry and smoky week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events