2RAR take supplies to stranded men on desert island

HMAS Canberra and soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, delivered food and other supplies to three mariners stranded on Pikelot Island in the Federated States of Micronesia yesterday.

CAPTION: Australian soldiers from 2RAR, keeping their distance because of COVID-19, deliver supplies to three Micronesian mariners stranded on a small island awaiting rescue. Photo by Leading Seaman Kieren Whiteley.

The fishermen had been missing for nearly three days but were found by Australian Tiger helicopters on Sunday 2 August.

They were in good condition when found 190 kilometres west of where they had set off in their 23-foot (7-metre) skiff on 30 July.

Their SOS message outlined on a beach was spotted from the air by Australian and US aircraft searching the area.

The Australian Defence Force had been asked for search-and-rescue support by the Rescue and Coordination Centre (RCC) in Guam on the afternoon of 1 August 2020.

A US Air Force KC-135 aircraft located a rudimentary SOS sign on the beach, which queued HMAS Canberra and her embarked helicopters to locate the missing sailors.

A US Coast Guard C-130 aircraft also assisted in the search.

A Micronesian patrol boat, FSS Independence, was dispatched to the island to pick the men up.

Yesterday, 3 August 2020, soldiers from 2RAR, wearing personal protective equipment and observing COVID-safe social distancing, took supplies to the men to tide them over until their rescue.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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