Facebook Saves Hiker After Emergency Call Cuts Out

An injured hiker in California was located using posts to his Facebook wall after his son’s emergency phone call […]

An injured hiker in California was located using posts to his Facebook wall after his son’s emergency phone call was struggling to get signal.


Sometimes we worry that we are too involved in our social media, but American hiker, Ryan Pritchard, was very thankful for telling the world what he was doing on Sunday. Ryan had gone hiking with his sons Jake and Devon on a remote footpath in California, the rugged Putah Creek State Wildlife Area near Lake Barryessa. Towards the end of the walk Ryan slipped on a loose rock and fell 150 feet off a cliffside, landing in a tree.

Devon, the older of the two sons, had run ahead to put some equipment in their car before the accident, so younger brother, Jake, was on his own trying to save his dad. He traversed the cliff and made it down to get his dad’s mobile phone and he called the emergency services immediately. Before Jake could give the emergency services an accurate location of his whereabouts the call was cut off, and the next attempts to call failed.

Social Media

The Solano County Sherrif’s Department were relayed the information that was given and had to work out where Ryan and Jake were. The phone’s location coordinates gave the SCSD little clues as to where they were as the nearest phone tower was located 30 miles away. This was when young dispatch trainee, Breanna Martinez used some initiative.

Her first idea was to check social media, so she searched Ryan Pritchard on Google and found his LinkedIn page. Through the LinkedIn page she found his Facebook account and scrolled down to find some key information on the injured party’s whereabouts.

“I scrolled down and the very first post was a picture of his two sons and behind him was the lake, Lake Berryessa,” Breanna Martinez speaking to CBS Sacramento. “And it just said, ‘Hiking the Blue Ridge Trail today.’”

With that information in hand the dispatchers automatically sent out a CHP rescue helicopter crew, who found the trail, winched Ryan from the tree and took him to a medical centre immediately.

Innovative Ideas

Ryan Pritchard was by no means unscathed, and has now been treated for a broken jaw, fractured bones and a head injury.

An incredible piece of initiative saved Ryan’s life, and the SCSD were very proud of Martinez and the innovative new ideas used for locating people in distress.

Here at Openhouse, we like to make sure that hikers are safe, and protected should they come into distress or have an accident. To see our full range of hiking safety products please visit our Oh-Public Services site.