UK & World News

  • 23 April 2014, 16:35

Snorkellers Saved By Huge SOS Scrawled In Sand

Five people have been rescued off Australia's Queensland coast after writing SOS in an exposed sandbar in the middle of the sea.

The group, who were on a snorkelling trip on Monday, left their boat near the sand and headed for nearby rocks - but its anchor broke and the boat drifted away.

"Just as we got over to the rocks, one of the boat co-owners ? turned back and could see that the boat had shifted," Lyn Forbes-Smith told The Courier-Mail.

Two of the group tried to swim after the drifting boat, but could not reach it.

Without food, water, or sunscreen - and with all mobile phones on board - they were forced to etch out SOS in giant letters and retreat to nearby rocks.

"We knew the sandbar would go under but we were fairly confident that the tide wouldn't have taken over the rocks," Mrs Forbes-Smith said.

Friends of the group back on Keswick Island raised the alarm when they did not return as planned.

Luckily, their boat was spotted by a volunteer rescue crew who traced the boat's registration.

A rescue helicopter tracked down the group by nightfall and winched them to safety, flying them back to the town of Mackay.

"We just looked for the highest ground, we looked for rocks where five of us could huddle together because we didn't really want to separate, and we wanted to be out of the wind as best as possible," Ms Forbes-Smith said.

She said the group were "a bit burnt" but otherwise in good health.

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