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Andersen KC-135 crew locates missing mariners on lone island in the Pacific.jpg
The island as seen from the air in 2020
Pikelot is located in Pacific Ocean
Location of Pikelot in the Pacific Ocean
Coordinates8°06′18″N 147°38′47″E / 8.10500°N 147.64639°E / 8.10500; 147.64639Coordinates: 8°06′18″N 147°38′47″E / 8.10500°N 147.64639°E / 8.10500; 147.64639
Area0.126 km2 (0.049 sq mi)[citation needed]
Length0.45 km (0.28 mi)[citation needed]
Width0.28 km (0.174 mi)[citation needed]
Highest elevation4 m (13 ft)[citation needed]

Pikelot Island is one of the outer islands of the State of Yap, part of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is a low coral islet, with a wet, tropical climate.[1][failed verification] It is uninhabited.[2]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The island is known to have a rich ecosystem, with forest and scrub; and extensive fringing reefs. The islet is also home to a major seabird rookery, turtle nesting area and a few mangroves.[citation needed]


Pikelot Catholic Chapel

The islet has no permanent inhabitants, but because of the beautiful wildlife, there are often temporary visitors from surrounding atolls such as Puluwat and Satawal on turtle hunting expeditions. The trip to Pikelot is still carried out in Micronesian style sailing outrigger canoes.[citation needed]


The first recorded European sighting was by Spanish naval officer Juan Antonio de Ibargoitia commanding the vessel Filipino in 1801.[3]

The SOS sign assembled by missing sailors in 2020, seen from the aircraft that found them

On 2 August 2020, three missing sailors were found on the island. After being lost for three days, their SOS sign, assembled with palm branches laid out on the beach, was spotted by a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft operated by members of the Hawaii and Pennsylvania Air National Guards, who had departed from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to search for the missing vessel and its crew. The airmen then radioed their position to an Australian ship in the area. The men were delivered supplies and equipment by an ARH Tiger helicopter from HMAS Canberra as well as a United States Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii and ultimately returned home aboard Micronesian Pacific-class patrol boat FSS Independance.[4][5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pikelot Island". Marine World Database. January 31, 2009. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Richmond, Bruce M.; Reiss, Thomas E. (November 1994). Vulnerability of the natural coastal system to accelerated sea-level rise, Yap islands, Federated States of Micronesia: Case study preliminary reports (PDF) (Report). United States Geological Survey. p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 10, 2022. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  3. ^ Robson, R.W. The Pacific Islands Handbook New York 1946. p.142
  4. ^ Ebensberger, Richard P. (August 5, 2020). "KC-135 crew finds missing mariners on Pacific island". National Guard. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  5. ^ Defence, Department of (August 3, 2020). "HMAS Canberra assists in search and rescue". defencenews.govcms.gov.au.
  6. ^ Doherty, Ben (August 4, 2020). "Missing sailors stranded on Pacific island saved by giant SOS in the sand". The Guardian. Judith Nelson Institute for Journalism and Ideas. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  7. ^ "Beach SOS saves men stranded on tiny Micronesian island". BBC News. August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.

External links[edit]