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Clever dispatcher uses Facebook to locate and rescue a hiker

Clever dispatcher uses Facebook to locate and rescue a hiker
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Facebook has always been a great tool for heart-warming reunions. We've seen it find long-lost relatives, save one girl's eyesight, bust dumb criminals, even save a kidnapped boy. This amazing rescue story is no different.

Normally, when you call in to 911 on a cellphone, the dispatcher can track your GPS location. It can help the rescuers find you as quickly as possible. But when the GPS doesn't work just right, you could be out of luck, especially in remote areas.

A dad and his 11-year-old son were grateful for a quick-thinking dispatcher who found them using Facebook after their GPS sent rescuers the wrong location.

The pair were hiking the Putah Creek State Wildlife Area in Solano County, California, when the father fell 150 feet down a cliff and was stuck in a tree. He was critically injured.

The boy quickly called 911, who were able to use the GPS coordinates to locate the pair, except, the phone's GPS coordinates were off by about 30 miles.

That's when the 911 dispatcher (who had only been on the job three weeks), began to think of alternatives.

“I decided to search myself since they were busy, so I plugged [Ryan Pritchard's] name into Google and his LinkedIn account came up,” Martinez told CBS 13 Sacramento. “So I was able to get a picture and know he was from Sacramento.”

After looking him up, she found him on Facebook and confirmed his location. “I scrolled down and the very first post was a picture of his two sons and behind him was the lake — Lake Berryessa. And it just said ‘Hiking the Blue Ridge Trail today,'" she said.

With this information, the rescue team was able to locate the duo and airlift them to safety via helicopter. Talk about amazing!

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