Three Cuban nationals were rescued unharmed from a deserted island in the Bahamas on Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard after spending 33 days stranded.
A routine air patrol on Monday spotted the survivors, waving a makeshift flag, on Anguilla Cay, one of the Bahamas’ westernmost islands, the Coast Guard said.
Video posted on Twitter showed Coast Guard crew members using a parachute to drop food, water and a radio that allowed communication. Meanwhile, a Coast Guard helicopter flew to the island, located between the Florida Keys and Cuba.
The castaways said they had spent nearly five weeks surviving on coconuts, conch and rats after their boat capsized during rough weather. They were able to swim safely ashore, the Sun Sentinel reported.
They were taken to Lower Keys Medical Center in Florida with no reported injuries, the Coast Guard said.
“This was a very complex operation involving asset and crews from different units, but thanks to good communication and coordination between command centers and pilots, we were able to safely get everyone to a medical facility before the situation could worsen,” Sean Connett, command duty officer at Coast Guard Seventh District, said in a statement.
It was unclear if the three people were fishing or were migrants trying to reach another country, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Murray told the Sentinel.