A young man spent an entire night suspended above the void, clinging to a tuft of grass. He found himself in this perilous situation partly because of directions from Google Maps, which led him down a no-go path. A reminder that GPS systems aren’t always right…
Who hasn’t heard of people who follow their GPS and find themselves stuck in a field or in the wrong direction in a small alley. Often mere urban legends, it really does happen that the GPS is misleading. It happened to a teenager near Grenoble overnight from Monday to Tuesday, who spent the night hanging from a cliff.
The young man was on his bike and wanted to join friends for a birthday party. He announced to his parents that he was going to Seyssinet-Pariset, when in reality the party was taking place much further, at Plateau-des-Petites-Roches. To get there, he followed the directions on Google Maps in bike mode, which led him to the Pal de Fer trail.
The emergency services could not locate him at night
However, this path has been prohibited for more than a year, due to landslides. He must have made a mistake at one point, and not wishing to turn back, he abandoned his bike and found himself taking the via ferrata, a climbing route, without any equipment. He climbed until he was stuck above the void, and had to alert the emergency services around 11 p.m.
To begin the search, the emergency services had to resort to the AML (Advance Mobile Location), the smartphone emergency location service. However, they were unable to find him on foot. It was not until the morning to spot him from a helicopter, the young man having spent the whole night clinging to a tuft of grass. They had to use the helicopter’s helicopter cable to drop off two rescuers from the CRS Alpes higher up. They were able to descend, secure the teenager, then bring him back up to hoist him up and bring him back to the mainland.