A British sailor who stopped off at a remote island saved the lives of its inhabitants – who were starving to death.
Heroic Alex Bond, 46, was delivering a yacht from Hawaii to Australia when he visited Kanton Island – a narrow ribbon of land in the South Pacific.
He was met by 24 ”desperate and starving” islanders who had run out supplies and had been living on a minimal diet of coconuts and fish for months.
They had been expecting a food delivery from the mainland which had not arrived and was at least another five weeks away.
Alex, of Penryn, Cornwall, gave them his supplies and contacted coastguards in Britain to warn them the 14 adults and 10 children were starving.
Coastguards in Falmouth, Cornwall, relayed his concerns to the US Coast Guard and authorities in Honolulu.
They have arranged a delivery to the island – half way between Hawaii and Fiji – and Alex is still there helping handover the emergency supplies.
Speaking from his yacht Alex said he and his crew of three made a routine stop at the island on May 5.
He said: ”We had no idea of the trouble they were in when we arrived. The adults were in a poor state and the children were suffering serious malnutrition.
”It is a beautiful island in the middle of nowhere but their regular delivery of food had failed to show up and was at least five weeks away.
”They haven’t got a proper airstrip so all the supplies come in by boat which was stuck hundreds of miles away. They were in real trouble.
”We gave them what we could from the yacht and radioed home to try and get them more help. I’ve been on round the world delivery boats three times but I’ve never experience anything like this before.
”They were extremely glad to see us and we’ve stayed on to help co-ordinate the food delivery. We’re not leaving until I know they are okay. They are wonderful people.”
Speaking from home in Cornwall, his wife Sonya, 44, said: ”What he’s done is amazing. I am exceptionally proud of him.”
Alex was delivery the 33ft yacht Mary Powell when he arrived on the island and immediately contacted British coastguards.
Kanton is an atoll – is an island of coral that encircles a a lagoon – and is the largest of the Phoenix Islands.
Richard Williams, of Falmouth Coastguard, said Alex had saved lives and supplies were now en route.
He said: ”When he arrived, he was met by the desperate and starving islanders who had not been delivered any supplies for months.
”The supply ship which should have brought them provisions was stuck at a nearby island and they had been living off just coconuts and any fish that they could catch.
”Alex gave the islanders all the supplies he could spare from his 33ft yacht. As the island was used by the Americans and the British during the war it does have a run way.
”We don’t normally get requests like these from British sailors, but the islanders can now get the supplies they need.
”So far, we have been given a shopping list of provisions such as cooking fat, rice, sugar and flour which we have passed on to the Americans.”
Mark Thomas, watch manager at Falmouth coastguards, added: ”Mr Bond called us to say the islanders were starving. They had not had any food for a number of months and had been living off coconuts and fish.
”He had given them as much food as he could spare, but the situation was quite dire. We liaised with our colleagues in the States to get supplies dropped off as soon as possible.”