‘SOS’ in sand helps rescue stranded swimmers

The group's boat drifted while they were swimming at a sandbar in Queensland's Whitsunday Islands on Monday. (NBC/APTN/RACQ)

WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS (NBC/APTN/RACQ) — Five swimmers were rescued off Australia’s East Coast this week after writing a distress signal in the sand.

The group’s boat drifted while they were swimming at a sandbar in Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands on Monday.

Their belongings were on the boat, so to attract rescue workers they wrote the letters “SOS” on a small sandbar.

Their friends had notified emergency services of their absence, and a rescue helicopter was sent to find them.

“The fortunate part is we were, probably, on one of the most magical spots in the world, to spend our ordeal,” Craig Gilbert, who was rescued by the helicopter.

No one needed medical attention.

“They were fine; they weren’t injured,” said Damien Kross, RACQ crewmember. “They were a little bit dehydrated, but we winched them to safety and brought them back here.”

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