Sailor stops at Kanton Island en route to Australia

A Cornish yachtsman has saved a group of starving islanders after chancing upon them on his way to Australia.

Alex Bond, from Penryn, near Falmouth, was delivering the 33 foot Mary Powell from Hawaii to Australia, when he stopped at Kanton Island, an atoll halfway between Hawaii and Fiji.

Mr Bond discovered that the 14 adults and ten children on the island, the only inhabited island in the Phoenix Islands, were hungry and desperate, as their supply ship was stuck on a nearby island.

The islanders were living off coconuts and any fish that they could catch, until Mr Bond gave them everything he could off his boat.

He contacted Falmouth Coastguard for help, who in turn called their American counterparts and the Honolulu authorities to arrange a drop-off.

Richard Williams, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Assistant, said: “The British sailor has given the islanders all the supplies that he can spare from his 33 foot yacht.

“We are now working with the Americans to drop supplies or land on the island. As the island was used by the Americans and the British during the war it does have a runway.

“We don’t normally get requests like these from British sailors, but hopefully we will be able to help the islanders to get the supplies that 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.”