Micronesia: Couple rescued from deserted island after SOS spotted in sand

SOS sign on island Image copyright US Navy
Image caption The couple were trying to reach another nearby island when they became stranded on East Fayu

Two people have been rescued from an uninhabited Pacific island after a US Navy helicopter spotted their SOS sign.

The pilots spotted the sign drawn into sand on East Fayu Island in Micronesia and alerted the US Coast Guard.

It followed a week-long search for Linus and Sabina Jack, both in their 50s, who were reported missing when they failed to reach a nearby island.

The couple left Weno Island with limited supplies and no emergency equipment, the Navy said.

Image copyright US Navy
Image caption The couple's 18-foot boat was dragged onto the beach of the uninhabited island

Teams looking for the couple searched 16,571 square miles, deploying 15 boats and two aircraft crews.

A helicopter was sent to fly over East Fayu after a search vessel, British Mariner, reported seeing lights on the uninhabited island.

"The Search and Rescue Operation for Linus and Sabina Jack has been successfully completed," said the US Embassy in Kolonia, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia.

"They are found and are waiting for a ship to take them home."

Image copyright US Navy
Image caption Their rescue followed a seven-day search by the Coast Guard

It is the second such case this year in the region.

In April, three men were rescued from the tiny, uninhabited Micronesian island of Fanadik, after their boat capsized two miles from shore.

The men used palm fronds to make a giant 'Help' sign in the sand and used their lifejackets to signal.

They were rescued by a US Navy search team after three days.

Image copyright other
Image caption It seems the couple managed to build a shelter

Five things to do if you're stranded

Make a sign: Writing in the sand worked in this case, but if there are large palm fronds, tree branches or even trunks, they will be more visible and more likely to survive an incoming tide.

Find a water source: Drinkable water is more important than anything else, without it you will die within days. Use any kind of container you can find or make to store rainwater, and large leaves to help catch as much as possible. Inland streams may provide a fresh water source.

Find food: A desert island can be a plentiful source of food, as long as you take some basic precautions. Cook seafood and meat thoroughly, and test food that might be poisonous against the back of your hand or outer lip, to see if it produces a reaction.

Build a shelter: Staying off the ground is important, to avoid snakes. Build your shelter in a clearing and cover it well - you may be on a tropical island but being soaked by rain can lead to hypothermia. If you can salvage any kind of netting, use it to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Avoid injury: Treating yourself for a wound is usually much harder than avoiding one in the first place, especially if it turns septic. If you can salvage or make shoes, do so. Try to avoid walking around in bare feet or taking unnecessary risks.

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