Three Cuban nationals who were rescued this week after being marooned for 33 days on an uninhabited Bahamian island said they managed to survive on a diet of coconuts, conches and rats, reports say.
The two men and a woman were first spotted Monday by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flying a routine mission near the Florida Keys. As of Wednesday morning they were being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Pompano Beach, Fla., the agency said.
"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," helicopter pilot Mike Allert told WPLG.
Allert said he decided to fly back around Anguilla Cay to investigate and a crew returned to the island later Monday to drop water, food and a radio.
The trio was stranded on a deserted Bahamian island between Key West and Cuba, the agency posted on Twitter. A helicopter crew returned Tuesday to pick them up.
They told officials their boat had capsized in rough waters and they were able to swim to the island.
The trio also informed the Coast Guard helicopter crew that they had survived on coconuts, conches and rats, news outlets reported.
The two men and woman were taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center, 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," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Murray told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "That is a new one for me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.