ANGUILLA CAY, Bahamas (WPLG) - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three people who had been stranded on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas for nearly five weeks, surviving on a diet partially made up of coconuts.
Three Cuban nationals were found on Anguilla Cay, part of the Cay Sal Banks, in the Bahamas after officials say they were stranded for 33 days. The woman and two men were able to flag down an aircraft that departed from the Coast Guard air base in Opa-Locka, Florida.
“The [pilot] noticed some unusual flags down there, some different colors, so they noticed some orange. They went back around to check it out, and they noticed three people signaling them,” said Lt. Justin Dougherty with the Coast Guard.
The crew was able to communicate with the stranded trio after dropping a radio and supplies. They learned the trio’s boat had capsized in rough waters, and they swam to the nearby island, where they had been surviving by eating coconuts, the meat from conch shells and rats.
“It was incredible. I don’t know how they did it. I’m amazed that they were in such good shape when we saw them,” Dougherty said.
The three were ultimately air-rescued Tuesday by another Coast Guard crew out of Clearwater, Florida. They were all taken to a hospital in the Florida Keys to be treated.
Remarkably, officials say there were no serious injuries, and all three were in good spirits.
“They were very, very clear and articulate about what was going on, so I was amazed they were in as good a shape as they were,” Dougherty said.
If the trio hadn’t been found, they likely would have died from a lack of freshwater.