Sailors stranded on deserted Pacific island saved by 'SOS' message in sand

Three men stranded on a deserted Pacific island were saved when they wrote a giant ‘SOS’ sign in the sand.

Incredible pictures show the distress signal on the uninhabited island of Pikelot after the group was missing for nearly three days.

The trio first set off from Pulawat atoll to sail 25 miles to Pulap atoll on July 30, the Australian Defence Force said.

But disaster struck when they lost their way and ran out of fuel, leaving them marooned about 120 miles from where they had set off from.

Their ‘SOS’ sign was spotted on Sunday by rescuers on an Australian and US aircraft.

Searchers in Guam had requested Australian help and the military ship Canberra, which was returning to Australia from exercises in Hawaii, had diverted to join forces with US crews.

An Australian military helicopter landed on the beach and gave the group food and water, before they were rescued by staff on a Micronesian patrol boat.

All three sailors were in good condition when they were discovered, authorities said.

The Canberra’s commanding officer, Captain Terry Morrison, said he was ‘proud of the response and professionalism of all on board as we fulfil our obligation to contribute to the safety of life at sea wherever we are in the world’.

Pikelot Island is one of the outer islands of the State of Yap, part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

It is known to have a rich ecosystem and a wet, tropical climate.

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