The message in the sand—"HELP 2807," followed by an arrow pointing—was brief, but it was enough to get a lost British tourist rescued from Jardine National Park in Queensland, Australia, last month. After Geoff Keys, 63, took a wrong turn, he spent two days in the forest without food and wearing only a T-shirt, hat, and swim trunks, reports Sky News. He decided to sleep until the sun came out, and eventually heard helicopters buzzing overhead. "It meant that I had been reported missing by my friends and also brought home to me what a terrible night they must have had, wondering where I was," he says. Although the helicopter did not spot Keys, it gave him an idea.
So the retired mechanic wrote "HELP 2807" in the sand at the beach, and added an arrow that pointed toward his direction. The "2807" addition indicates the date he wrote the message, July 28. "I thought this would be enough to get any helicopter that saw it looking in the right place," he explains on his blog. A search and rescue helicopter saw the message the next afternoon, ending Keys' dangerous ordeal. He was treated for exhaustion, dehydration, and lacerations to his feet, and expressed gratitude for the approximately $580,000 rescue. "Their skill and professionalism is incredible," he says of the search team. "I feel stupid but lucky." (Read more search and rescue stories.)