It is such a small islet in the Pacific Ocean that you have to transform it into a microscopic spot to spot it among other rocky elements. Pikelot, a very pretty name for a desert island, which could have become the tomb of three sailors from Micronesia if they had not been rescued.
The men, missing for three days, were spotted Sunday on the island of Pikelot in Micronesia by Australian and American military planes, announced the Australian Defense Force (ADF).
No one ever comes to Pikelot except, sometimes in the spring, to hunt turtles. The island, 450 m long, has only palm trees and scrub.
Departing Wednesday July 29 from Pulawat to go to the Pulap atolls, a 42 km trip, aboard a 23-foot (7 m) skiff, they ran out of gasoline. And their boat drifted, 190 km from its destination. With the men not arriving at Pulap, a search request was made to the US Coast Guard on the island of Guam, which is 800 km away.
"We were at the end of the research"
The three Micronesians were first spotted by a US Air Force KC-135 tanker aircraft operating from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam after a three-hour search. “We were near the end of our research cycle,” KC-135 pilot Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen said in the post on the base's Facebook page.
“We took a detour to avoid a few rain showers and that's when we looked down and saw an island, so we decided to check it out and that's where we got it. saw SOS and a boat right next door on the beach. From there we called the Australian Marine because they had two helicopters nearby that could land on the island to help ”.
It was therefore a helicopter from the Australian amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra that landed on the beach. The health of the three Robinsons was good, they did not present any serious injuries. By respecting the distances, because of the coronavirus, water and food were left to them. A US Coast Guard C-130 from Hawaii dropped a radio on the island so the men could contact the Micronesian patrol boat dispatched from Yap to retrieve them and their boat.
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They were rescued by the FSS Independence Monday at noon local time (midnight between Monday and Tuesday, French time).
The technique of the word in the sand works: in April 2016, three sailors stranded on the deserted island of Fanadik were saved thanks to the word "HELP" visible from the plane.