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People in Oregon use drones to call for help when stranded in the snow without service

An Oregon man employed some creative thinking by connecting his phone to a drone to get cell service after he got stuck on a snowy road in the Willamette National Forest, authorities said on Facebook.

Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue said the motorist was attempting to cross a remote road in the woods when his vehicle, which was not equipped for snowy conditions, became stuck. He soon realized he had no cell service and could not call for help, the office said.

Authorities said the man “made several smart decisions” that helped save his life — the most innovative being the idea to connect his cell phone to a drone he was carrying. He then sent a text to a friend detailing the situation and his location, and then launched the drone several hundred feet into the air, the sheriff’s office said.

“The increased height allowed his phone to connect to a tower and send messages, which led to the deployment of our teams and helped him get out of his situation,” search and rescue authorities said.

A recount by authorities of how the stranded motorist used his drone.

A recount by authorities of how the stranded motorist used his drone.

Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

In addition to the drone maneuver, authorities said the man was smart to stay with his car, as stranded motorists are more likely to survive if they are in or near their vehicle rather than wandering around.

In another welcome twist, when rescuers reached the motorist, they found and rescued another person who had been stuck in the snow for days, the office said.

Although this particular episode had a happy ending, the sheriff’s office warned people not to travel on forest roads — which are not maintained for the winter — without a team of “well-equipped vehicles.” Still, the office said, it’s important to make sure someone who isn’t traveling is aware of your plans, where you plan to go and when you plan to return so they can contact authorities in case of a problem.

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Simreen Singh

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