Castaways Rescued After Spelling 'Help'
Navy plane spotted men on remote Pacific island
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2016 7:18 AM CDT
The Coast Guard released this photo of the castaways and their sign.   (US Coast Guard)

(Newser) – Three castaways might still be stuck on a remote, uninhabited Pacific island if they hadn't made a sign. The sailors were saved after a US Navy plane spotted that they had spelled out "HELP" in palm fronds on Fanadik Island, which lies around 2,600 miles southwest of Honolulu, CNN reports. The men, who also waved orange life jackets to attract the plane's attention, had been stranded for three days after their boat capsized, forcing them to swim all night to the island, reports the New York Daily News.

The men were found on the Micronesian island just two hours after the Navy P-8 crew Misawa Air Base in Japan joined the search, which was coordinated by the Coast Guard after the men's vessel failed to arrive at its destination. The Coast Guard says it has carried out seven similar missions in the area over the last two weeks alone. "The Coast Guard 14th District covers an area of responsibility more than 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, an area almost twice the size of Russia," Jennifer Conklin, search and rescue mission coordinator at the Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu said in a press release.