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3 Stranded Sailors Rescued From Tiny Pacific Island

This handout photo taken Aug. 2, 2020 and released Aug, 4, 2020, by the Australian Defense Force shows an Australian Army helicopter landing near "SOS" signage on a beach on Pikelot Island where three missing sailors were found in good condition.

The Australian Defense Department said three Micronesian sailors have been rescued from a tiny Pacific island after the large distress signal they wrote in the sand was spotted from above.

The Defense Department said the men had been missing in the Micronesia archipelago for nearly three days when their “SOS” distress signal was spotted Sunday on uninhabited Pikelot island by both Australian and U.S. aircraft.

SOS is an internationally recognized distress signal that originated from Morse code and means “Save our Ship” or “Save our Souls.”

Officials said the men apparently set out from Poluwat atoll in a seven-meter boat July 30 intending to travel about 43 kilometers to Pulap atoll when they sailed off course and ran out of fuel. Searchers in Guam asked Australia for help.

The military ship Canberra, which was returning to Australia from exercises in Hawaii, diverted to the area and joined forces with U.S. search planes from Guam.

The men were found roughly 200 kilometers from where they originally set out.

An Australian military helicopter landed on the beach and gave the men food and water. They are reportedly in good condition. A Micronesian patrol vessel was expected to pick them up.