Fri, Jan 06, 2012
GPS Couldn't Resolve Location, But Flashlight Worked
Glowing mobile phones can be really annoying in darkened movie
theaters. But a 43-year-old Maryland man reportedly used the the
flashlight on his iPhone to guide a helicopter pilot to his
location after becoming lost in a dark, mountainside park.
The Baltimore Sun reports Christopher Tkacik went hiking in
Gambrill State Park, a 1,137-acre tract in Western Maryland, with
his dog last Saturday afternoon. He explains, "I hike an awful lot.
I've never been lost." He called 911 about 1730 EST after
encountering a stream he knew he hadn't seen on the way in, "when I
realized I wasn't going to get off this mountain before it gets
pitch black." He ended up spending about seven hours in the
A rescue crew responded in a Eurocopter AS 365, and they could
communicate with the hiker through his iPhone, but neither the
phone's GPS nor triangulation techniques could locate him.
With his battery nearly exhausted, Tkacik used the phone's
flashlight function to try to get the attention of the searchers,
and he was finally spotted through night-vision goggles. Two
firefighters were lowered from the helo, and walked the hiker
safely out of the park about 8pm.
The Sun reports Tkacik made it home in time to take his wife to
a New Years Eve party.
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