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Couple stranded 3 days after GPS leads them astray

From the Associated Press

Nevada couple letting their SUV’s navigation system guide them through the high desert of Eastern Oregon got stuck in snow for three days when the GPS unit sent them down a remote forest road.

On Sunday, atmospheric conditions apparently changed enough for their GPS-enabled cell phone to get a weak signal and relay coordinates to a dispatcher, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said.

"GPS almost did ‘em in and GPS saved ‘em," Evinger said. "It will give you options to pick the shortest route. You certainly get the shortest route. But it may not be a safe route."

Evinger said a Lake County deputy found the couple in the Winema-Fremont National Forest outside the small town of Silver Lake on Sunday afternoon and pulled their four-wheel-drive Toyota Sequoia out of the snow with a winch.

John Rhoads, 65, and his wife, Starry Bush-Rhoads, 67, made it home safely to Reno, Nev., Evinger said.

The couple was well-equipped for winter travel, carrying food, water and warm clothes, the sheriff said.

"Their statement was, being prepared saved their life," he said.

This is rather Darwin Awardish isn’t it.

3 Comments

  1. Mike Todd says:

    The machines have turned on us. Where is John Connor when we need him?!

  2. tracey says:

    I read a news story last year of a man in Germany who drove into a lake following GPS. I think they used it for an episode of The Office.

    Definitely Darwin Award-ish.

  3. Technology is great, but you need to do sanity checks regularly. If the road looks unused, question the GPS’s suggestion. I like to have a map even when I’m using a GPS just for backup. You never know when the thing will decide to stop working entirely!

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