GPS navigation has transformed how we get around, but it is not perfect, and we’ve all probably been given incorrect directions at some point in our lives.
While this is usually just a minor inconvenience, it became a life-threatening situation for an Australian family.
The family was reported missing on August 8 after they failed to show up in Packsaddle after travelling from Queensland the day before, according to the New South Wales Police Force. This sparked an investigation and a “major land search” that included the nearby towns of Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Wilcannia, and Packsaddle.
On August 9th, a search and rescue helicopter located their Hyundai Tucson about 31 miles (50 km) southeast of Tibooburra as a result of the efforts of numerous organisations and volunteers. The family was rescued as a result, and was airlifted to safety.
Police, according to 9News, say the accident happened after “Google Maps took them off track onto a dirt road away from a sealed highway where they got bogged [down]” in a remote location. Darian Aspinall told the station, “I honestly thought we were going to die,” while 7News simply attributed it to a “wrong turn.”
Aspinall continued by saying that because there was no cell service, she was unable to call for assistance. In light of this, the family allegedly walked in vain for hours in an effort to find assistance. Given that the family could only share one litre of water, this was undoubtedly frightening.
They had so little water that they quickly dehydrated. Aspinall told the station that the family was able to survive until help arrived because they happened upon a puddle.