Police in Oregon are praising a man for his survival skills and resourcefulness after he became stranded in the snowy wilderness without cell phone reception.
According to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, the man was traveling on a remote road in heavy snow conditions in the U.S. Forest Service–Willamette National Forest when his vehicle got stuck in the snow.
The motorist relied on his quick thinking and resourcefulness to extricate himself from the potentially deadly situation, and ingeniously attached his iPhone to his drone in order to get cell phone reception and call for help.
Police noted that the forested area of Lane County is known to have poor cell phone service and can be dangerous for drivers.
To make matters worse, no one knew the man was gone and his family was out of the country.
“Nobody knew where he had gone or to call for help if he didn’t make it home,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post.
Police credited the man with making all the right survival decisions, such as staying inside of his vehicle and finding a way to get help by sending his iPhone by drone into the sky.
“Rarely does anyone in Oregon die from exposure waiting in their vehicle to be found and rescued,” the sheriff’s department wrote. “But we have unfortunately seen many poor outcomes from those who chose to walk away.”
To send out the SOS, the driver typed out a text message to a friend explaining his situation on his phone and launched the phone by drone several hundred feet in the air.
Thankfully, the phone was able to connect to a tower at higher elevation and send the message.
“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,” police explained.
While assisting the man, first responders were also able to locate another traveler who was stuck in the snow for several days.
While authorities were impressed with the man’s resourcefulness, they advised people to avoid driving on snow or ice-covered forest roads that are not regularly maintained.
They also offered other tips.
“Always tell a responsible person exactly where you are going and when you expect to be back.” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Do not deviate from this plan.”
“Of the dozens of missions we have had this winter involving a vehicle stuck in the snow, nearly all of them were 4×4 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,” the post concluded.