April 11, 2016 4:09 AM EDT

Three men who were stranded on a remote Pacific island after their sailboat sank were rescued after three days, thanks to an old castaway trope — the word “Help” spelled out in palm fronds on the beach, which was spotted by a military plane passing by.

The men were on a sailing trip in the southern Pacific Ocean when a sudden storm last Monday night sunk their boat and cast them into the sea, the Guardian reported.

They swam nearly two miles until they reached the island of Fanadik, in the Federated States of Micronesia, where they would remain for three days. The U.S. Coast Guard took note of their disappearance, and on Thursday morning, a navy plane spotted them on the beach, next to the message they had made in the sand.


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