Marooned couple rescued by rowing team after writing SOS in sand

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The Independent Online

A husband and wife marooned on an uninhabited island without a mobile phone were rescued after scrawling SOS in the sand.

A husband and wife marooned on an uninhabited island without a mobile phone were rescued after scrawling SOS in the sand.

The couple were left on Samson island in the Isles of Scilly by Fraser Hicks, the captain of a pleasure boat, who had dropped off 30 passengers for a short visit and miscounted the number he picked up for the return. The pair were spotted an hour and a half later by the crew of a women's rowing team, which saw them waving and made a detour to pick them up.

Steve Watt, Scilly tourism officer, said the boatman admitted it was his fault that the couple, believed to be Canadian, were stranded when the Sea King sailed for St Mary's, the main island.

He said: "He had miscounted when he picked the passengers up. It was early evening before they were rescued and they waved for help when they saw the gig. It was lucky they were passing. I don't think they had a mobile phone with them."

Mr Watt said there were two ruined cottages which the couple could have used for shelter if they had been forced to stay overnight. He added: "Fortunately, this type of thing does not happen very often. The last time was 30 years ago."

Mr Hicks visited the couple yesterday to apologise for leaving them behind. "They were OK about it," he said.

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