Stranded kite surfer rescued after writing 'HELP' out of rocks in the sand

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(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) -- A kite surfer stranded on the California coast was rescued after officials say his "HELP" sign -- written out of rocks in the sand -- was spotted by a helicopter flying overhead.

The unnamed man was stranded south of the Davenport Landing in Santa Cruz, California, on a "remote" stretch of beach where "access is difficult," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement on X Monday.

Officials said the ocean tide was coming in, adding to the severity of the surfer's situation.

The kite surfer, who became stranded on June 9, wrote out "HELP" with rocks at the top of the beach, as close to the cliffs as possible, which was seen by a private helicopter that called for emergency services, officials said.

The man did not need medical attention after being airlifted from the beach by a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection helicopter, officials said.

Spelling out “HELP” or "SOS" when stranded is a common way for castaways to be discovered.

In April, three sailors were rescued from a remote Pacific Island after being stranded for over a week and writing "HELP" with palm leaves on the white sand beach, the U.S. Coast Guard said at the time.

The unnamed sailors, all men in their 40s, were rescued from Pikelot Atoll -- one of the outer islands of the State of Yap, part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 5:17PM by Leah Sarnoff, ABC News Permalink