Man Stranded In Oregon Wilderness Uses Drone To Call For Help

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 07, 2023 - 02:20 AM

A sheriff's office in Oregon reported a man was stranded in Willamette National Forest due to heavy snowfall. He was stuck on a stretch of roadway with no cellphone service and decided to use his drone to call for help. 

In a Facebook post, the Lane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue detailed the man attached his smartphone to a drone. He typed out a message to a friend. When he hit send, he launched the drone hundreds of feet into the air. After several tries, the phone connected to a nearby cell tower, and the message was sent. 

"The increased elevation allowed his phone to connect to a tower and send the message, which resulted in our teams being deployed and assisting him out of his situation," the search and rescue team wrote.

Here's more on the out-of-the-box, or rather over-the-box, thinking that saved this man's life. 

Recently Lane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue responded to an all-too-familiar mission, but with a unique twist.

A motorist had attempted to traverse a remote road in the U.S. Forest Service - Willamette National Forest that is not maintained for winter travel. His vehicle became stuck in the snow and he did not have cell service to call for help (cell reception is very limited in many forested areas of Lane County). Making his situation worse, his family was out of the country and nobody knew where he had gone or to call for help if he didn't make it home.

Regardless of the circumstances leading to his situation, once stranded this person made several smart decisions. First, he stayed with his vehicle. Rarely does anyone in Oregon die from exposure waiting in their vehicle to be found and rescued, but we have unfortunately seen many poor outcomes from those who chose to walk away. Second, he used some ingenuity to find a way to call for help. The man had a drone with him and attached his cell phone to the drone. 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 his phone to connect to a tower and send the message, which resulted in our teams being deployed and assisting him out of his situation.

While our teams were rescuing this person, another motorist who had also been stranded nearby in the snow for multiple days was located and rescued.

We are happy with the outcome of this call for service, and impressed with the creatively displayed to call for help, but we would like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to help us spread some important winter travel safety messages:

1) Forest Roads are not maintained for winter travel. Any attempt to travel on unmaintained snow or ice covered roads (no matter how much or little) should only be made with a group of well-equipped vehicles. If one vehicle becomes stuck, the other vehicles can attempt to free the stuck vehicle or can turn around and be used to drive everyone back to safety.

2) Always tell a responsible person EXACTLY where you are going, and when you expect to be back. Do not deviate from this plan. If a road becomes unpassable, turn around and go back the way you came, do not attempt a detour without first updating your plan with your emergency contact.

3) Of the dozens of missions we have had this winter involving a vehicle stuck in the snow, nearly all of them were 4x4 vehicles and almost all of the drivers told us "I didn't think I would get stuck." Instead of asking yourself whether you think you can get through a section of road, ask yourself "What will happen if I do get stuck?" If you (and the group of other vehicles you are traveling with) are not prepared to deal with any of the possible outcomes from an attempt, turn around and go back the way you came.

Full story here.