Coast Guard says flags, cross alerted them to woman, 2 men on uninhabited island for 33 days


MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard found a woman and two men stranded on an uninhabited Bahamian island, between Key West and Cuba. They had been there for nearly five weeks.

According to a news release from the Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry first spotted the trio waving a makeshift flag while they were on routine patrol Monday.

The aircrew dropped them food, water and a radio so they could speak with them while a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter crew was deployed to the scene.

Aircraft Commander Mike Allert, a helicopter pilot, said on Tuesday that the crew first noticed some unusual flags on the island.

“We were alerted to them by the flags that they actually had in addition to a large cross that they put out there for themselves,” Allert said.

The three Cuban nationals were stranded in the Anguilla Cay, a Bahama Banks’ island off the southeast end of Cay Sal Bank. Lt. Justin Dougherty said they were there for 33 days after their boat had capsized in rough waters and they were able to swim to the island.

The USCG Clearwater helicopter crew rescued them.

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