Teen Hikers Rescued Thanks to Helpful iPhone

10 teens found themselves lost in the dark
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2023 2:37 PM CDT
Teen Hikers Rescued After Emergency Text
A scene from the rescue.   (Ventura County Sheriff's Office)

Darkness fell and still the teen hikers did not appear. It was enough to worry guardians of the group of 10, aged 16 to 18, who soon alerted California's Ventura County Sheriff's Office. But as CBS News reports, it was Apple's Emergency SOS feature that ultimately led to a rescue. Around 8pm Friday, the sheriff's dispatch received a text message sent from an iPhone using the feature, which employs satellites to convey location information to emergency services when cellular data or an internet connection isn't available. As KTTV reports, the message conveyed that the hikers "were unable to find their way back from the Santa Paula Canyon" in Los Padres National Forest.

Armed with location data, 13 members of the volunteer Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team responded to the Santa Paula Canyon trailhead within half an hour, per CBS. They hiked some four miles into the canyon before finding the hikers, most of whom were "not prepared" for the difficult hike, which included more than 3,700 feet of elevation gain, multiple stream crossings, and paths damaged by rain, the sheriff's office said. Discovered around 11:15pm, the group still had hours of walking to do, though they now had lights, water, and food to help with the journey. They were finally guided back to the trailhead and reunited with their guardians at 2:40am, authorities said, adding none required medical attention. (More rescue stories.)

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