Travel News

Three Travelers Stranded on an Island, Saved By Giant “SOS” In the Sand

Written by Charlie

Thanks to a giant “SOS” drawn in the sand of a tiny Pacific island, three stranded men were able to be rescued this weekend.

Even in 2020 it is possible to have things go wrong on the high seas, as three travelers found out last week. They were heading, by boat, from Puluwat Atoll to go about 23 nautical miles to Pulap Island. They ended up getting stranded over 100 miles away from their original departure point.

Three Travelers Saved from a Deserted Island by Giant SOS

Courtesy of the Australian Navy

On July 30, three men set off in their 23 foot boat for what should have been a relatively short journey. However, when they never arrived at the their destination, the alarm went out to authorities that they were missing and a multi-national rescue took place.

They were spotted three days later on an island in Yap. They were spotted by a rescue flight, taking place aboard a KC-135 aircraft. The way they were spotted was the giant “SOS” that was scrawled in the sand, next to their beached boat.


The US Air Force dropped a radio and pack to the stranded mariners letting them know that help would be coming to them, courtesy of the Australian Navy and Army shortly.

What might have been a somewhat typical rescue was made a little more complicated due to the coronavirus and the desire to make sure that everyone’s health was protected. So, distance was observed as the crew of the HMAS Canbarra as they rescued the men and took them aboard to transport back to their families.

Three days of being stranded on a small island in the Pacific could not have been an easy thing, but fortunately the men were able to think of the SOS in the sand which ultimately was what drew attention to them and helped them to be rescued.

More from the Australian Navy

Featured image courtesy of the US Air Force

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • I can’t help but think if I were to be stranded on a desert island and had the WHOLE beach to myself, that I would make my SOS a LOT bigger. Like the whole height of the beach!

    I’m sure that the actual letters they made are way bigger than they appear in the picture but cmon they’re barely taking up a quarter of the beach!

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