Voice 1: Three men have been rescued from a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean by the United States Navy. The men were hungry and dehydrated but in relatively good condition after their castaway ordeal. They had been stranded on the island without food or drink, and it was only due to their inventiveness that they were located and rescued.
Voice 2: On Thursday morning, the crew of a US Navy plane noticed something strange on the shore of one of the remote islands that they were flying over. On closer inspection, they saw the word H-E-L-P spelled out in giant letters on the sand.
Voice 1: The plane's pilot contacted ships in the area, and within a few hours three very happy castaways were safely onboard a rescue vessel taking them back to the island of Pulap from where they had originally set sail in a small sailing boat four days previously.
Voice 2: The three men had set out from Pulap on Monday, April 4th. The weather conditions had been perfect when they set off. But the weather suddenly deteriorated and rough seas capsized the small craft.
Voice 1: At first, the sailors were able to cling onto the boat, but when this began to sink the only thing they could do was swim. Fortunately all three of them were strong swimmers. Kept afloat by their life vests, the men swam most of Monday night until they reached the shore of one of the small islands in this part of the Pacific Ocean. Luck was certainly on their side.
Voice 2: Coastguards in the area were first notified that the men were missing at sea just before noon on Tuesday. They put out an urgent message for assistance to all the US Navy vessels and local ships. Two cargo ships immediately diverted their course and began a search of the area where the men had last been located. After a search of seventeen hours, they had found nothing.
Voice 1: A navy plane joined the search on Thursday morning and after two hours, at 6am local time, the missing men were located. The castaways had used palm fronds to spell out their cry for help.
Voice 2: As the plane descended to investigate further, the pilot saw three men standing by the piles of palm fronds waving yellow life jackets. The giant letters had saved the men’s lives.
Voice 1: In the last week of March and the first week of April, 2016, the coastguard unit that looks after the region of the Pacific where the three sailors capsized co-ordinated seven operations, saving the lives of fifteen people. The unit, based in Honolulu on the island of Hawaii, is responsible for an area of sea almost twice the size of Russia.
Voice 2: This particular rescue mission had a happy outcome thanks to the combined efforts of the coastguards, a couple of cargo ships and the US Navy plane. And, of course, the ability to spell.