Man stranded in snow without cell service ties phone to drone to call for help
A stranded man on a remote snowbound road in an Oregon forest without cell service found an ingenious way to call for help by attaching his phone to a drone.
The motorist became stuck in the snow while driving through Willamette National Forest and was unable to call 911 because he did not have cell service in that location, according to Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue on Sunday.
To make matters even worse, the man’s family was out of the country at the time, and no one knew where he had gone, so there wouldn’t be anyone to summon help in a timely manner if he failed to make it back home.
But according to the agency, “the all-too-familiar” scenario had a “unique twist.”
Rescue officials said that the driver made several “smart decisions” that day, beginning with the fact that he stayed inside his vehicle to keep warm, instead of wandering off to try and get help on foot, which could often lead to death from exposure.
His second smart decision was finding a creative way to call for help using equipment he happened to have on hand.
“The man had a drone with him and attached his cell phone to the drone,” the post explained. “He then typed a text message to a trusted person describing his situation and exact location, hit send, and launched the drone several hundred feet into the air.
The increased elevation allowed the man’s airborne phone to connect to a cell tower and fire off the life-saving message, which resulted in search and rescue teams being sent to track down the motorist and deliver him to safety.
The agency revealed that while its first responders were helping the quick-thinking driver, they happened upon another person who had been stuck in the snow for several days and rescued him as well.
Lane County officials said that while they were “happy with the outcome” of this rescue mission and “impressed with the creativity” of the drone-flying driver, they urged people to exercise caution when traveling in the winter and let somebody know where they’re headed before hitting the road.