Sometimes, size does matter.
When you’re stranded on an isolated, uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, for example — you’re going to want to make the SOS that you draw in the sand as big as possible.
This was the scary situation sailors Linus and Sabina Jack found themselves in last week after their trip from Weno Island to Tamatam Island in Micronesia didn’t go as planned. When they didn’t show up in port the next day, they were reported missing to the Coast Guard.
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After a week of searching, Coast Guard search vessels finally spotted a flashing light on East Fayu Island. They knew the Jack brothers had a flashlight with them, so they sent a helicopter to investigate. That’s when they spotted the giant drawing in the sand.
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According to Jennifer Conklin, search-and-rescue mission coordinator at the Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu, “The Coast Guard 14th District covers an area of responsibility more than 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, an area almost twice the size of Russia.” Before they spotted the Jack’s flashlight, they had searched 17,000 square miles using 15 boats and two aircraft.
The Jacks, meanwhile, had set off with “limited supplies and no emergency equipment,” so they built a lean-to for shelter while they attempted to make contact with search crews in whatever way they could.
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After some difficulty reaching shore, the Coast Guard managed to pick them up, safe and sound, and put them on a boat home. There was no comment from the Jacks about any volleyball friends they left behind. But perhaps that wound is still too raw to talk about.