Man Stranded on Remote Road Without Cell Service Uses Drone to Send Message, Helps Save Another Driver

A driver who was stuck in the snow in a National Forest in Oregon sent his phone "several hundred feet into the air" so it was able to send his message asking for help

Man Stranded in Snow without Cell Service Uses Drone to Send Message for Help
Photo: Lane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Facebook

Authorities in Oregon say a drone and a little ingenuity helped save two stranded motorists from a dangerous situation on a remote and snowy road.

Lane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue (LCSSR) said crews recently rescued a motorist, who has not been identified, after his vehicle became stuck in the snow on a road in the Willamette National Forest.

Cell service in the area was limited, making it difficult for him to reach out for help, according to a post on the department's Facebook page.

He also reportedly had not informed anyone about his plans or whereabouts because his family was out of the country.

But the man was determined to make the life-saving call — so, he got creative and attached his cell phone to a drone that was sitting in his vehicle.

The driver typed out a message to a trusted friend about his predicament and hit the "send" button before launching the drone "several hundred feet into the air," according to Search and Rescue.

"The increased elevation allowed his phone to connect to a tower and send the message," the department said.

Man Stranded in Snow without Cell Service Uses Drone to Send Message for Help
Lane County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Facebook

Crews eventually responded to the scene and rescued the driver, who remained with his vehicle until help arrived.

LCSSR also rescued a second motorist — who they said was "stranded nearby in the snow for multiple days" — thanks to the first driver's ingenuity.

"We are happy with the outcome of this call for service, and impressed with the [creativity] displayed to call for help," the department said on Facebook.

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Cell phone reception is typically "very limited" in Lane County forests, according to Search and Rescue. Additionally, forest roads like the one in Willamette National Forest "are not maintained for winter travel."

Only "well-equipped vehicles" can traverse the treacherous roads in the wintertime, Search and Rescue said. That does not include 4x4 vehicles, which are involved in "nearly all" of this season's rescues, the department added.

LCSSR is encouraging travelers to think twice before venturing down these remote roadways in the winter. They also recommend travelers tell a responsible person about their exact plans, including the destination and estimated return time.

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