Couple stranded after GPS sends them down backwoods
Published Tuesday, December 29, 2009 10:11PM EST
A U.S. couple is blaming their GPS device for sending them off their planned route and down a snow-covered, remote forest road in Oregon, where they were stranded for days before being rescued.
The GPS told the couple to turn on a service road near Silver Lake, Oregon, instead of onto a highway, and they ended up driving nearly 56 kilometres out of the way before getting stuck in almost 50 centimetres of snow on Christmas Day.
"It will be (a Christmas) we remember the rest of our lives," Starry Bush-Rhoads, 67, said.
She and her husband John Rhoads, 65, tried to call for help but their cellphone signal stopped working.
They were stuck on the road for three days before the weather warmed up Sunday, and their cellphone got reception again.
John Rhoads finally got through to 911 to say the couple was lost in the fog and snow.
In an ironic twist, a dispatcher was able to get their exact co-ordinates because their cellphone was GPS-enabled.
"GPS almost did 'em in and GPS saved 'em," Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said.
A deputy sheriff finally found the couple inside the Winema-Fremont National Forest near Silver Lake on Sunday afternoon
He managed to pull their Toyota Sequoia out of the snow with a device used to pull boats out of water.
Luckily, the couple's heater had worked during the whole ordeal and they had extra food, water and warm clothes to help them survive the freezing temperatures.
Experts say that although a GPS is a useful tool, drivers should make sure to have paper maps as a backup, a survival kit, and a cellphone.
Getting stuck in the cold Oregon wilderness proved deadly for the father of one family.
James Kim died of hypothermia in Dec. 2006 after walking in the cold for days as he tried to get help for his family.
They had been lost in the cold for a week after taking a wrong turn.