Three people rescued after surviving on island for 33 days by eating coconuts and rats

·1-min read

Two men and women who were stranded on a deserted island for 33 days were rescued after they waved flags to get the attention of a passing US Coast Guard helicopter crew.

The crew were reportedly on a routine mission off the Florida Keys.

Helicopter pilot Mike Allert told American digital television station WPLG: "We were alerted to them by the flags that they actually had in addition to a large cross that they put out there for themselves."

Mr Allert said he decided to fly back around Anguilla Cay to investigate and a crew returned to the island on Monday 8 February to drop water, food and a radio.

The trio was stranded on an uninhabited Bahamian island between Key West and Cuba, the agency posted on Twitter.

A helicopter crew returned on Tuesday to pick them up.

Coast Guard officials tweeted that the trio were from Cuba.

They told officials their boat had overturned in rough waters and they were able to swim to the island.

The trio told the crew they had survived on coconuts, conchs and rats, news outlets reported.

It was not immediately clear whether they were migrants attempting to get to the United States, or if they were just lost at sea, US Coast Guard Petty Officer Brandon Murray told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

They were taken to a medical centre, where none appeared to have serious injuries.

"I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island," he told the newspaper.

"That is a new one for me."