Three men have been rescued from an uninhabited island in the south Pacific after spelling out the word "help" using palm fronds on a remote stretch of beach. The men were picked up on the island of Fanadik, Micronesia, after a US Navy jet spotted the message.

The US Coast Guard published pictures of the message and the three men standing alongside it waving their orange lifejackets three days after their 19ft skiff capsized on a fishing trip. The men had swam throughout the night before reaching the island of Fanadik, which is several hundred miles north of Papua New Guinea.

They had been reported missing on Tuesday after failing to arrive at the island of Weno, where they were headed from their home island of Pulap. "Fortunately for them, they were all wearing life jackets and were able to swim to the deserted island," US Coast Guard spokeswoman Melissa McKenzie told AP.

The US Coast Guard have rescued 10 boats in the south Pacific since 28 March, it said in a statement on Saturday, saving 15 lives.

"The Coast Guard 14th District covers an area of responsibility more than 12.2 million square miles of land and sea, an area almost twice the size of Russia," said Jennifer Conklin, search and rescue mission coordinator at the Coast Guard Command Centre Honolulu. "Oftentimes, we are thousands of miles away from those who need help."