Tags: stranded family | sos message | california | massive waterfall rescue

Message in a Bottle Brings Rescuers to Stranded Family

Message in a Bottle Brings Rescuers to Stranded Family
A stranded family's message in a water bottle was found after they got stuck at a massive waterfall in California. (AP) 

By    |   Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:29 AM

When a family got stranded atop a massive waterfall during their four-day hiking trip in California, the only way they could think to call for help was with an SOS message in a bottle.

They wrote a note with their location and placed it into a drinking water bottle with the words "get help" carved on the outside. Then they hurled it into the river.

Watching the bottle float over the falls, Curtis Whitson turned to his 13-year-old son Hunter Whitson and said they had done everything in their power. The rest was up to chance.

Back track a few weeks and Curtis had a completely different vision when planning a camping trip with his son and girlfriend Krystal in Ramirez California's Arroyo Seco.

Chatting with ABC News after their dramatic rescue, Curtis explained how the family found themselves stranded and isolated while hiking in a section of the area famously known as "the waterfall."

The water level was much higher than they had anticipated, but the ropes and carabiners that should be fastened into the rocks were missing and the family found themselves stuck.

"One bad step or one misjudgment in regards to that strength of that river and it could've just carried us right over the edge and that could've been it," Curtis said.

Unsure of their next move the family did the only thing they could think of- sending out a message calling for help in a water bottle.

"The first thing on it was the date and then below it said, 'Stuck at Waterfall. Please Send help!'" Ramirez said of the note. They then carved the worlds "get help" on the outside of the bottle, stuck the note inside and threw it over the falls.

"I looked at Hunter and said we've done all we can do. Now it's just a matter of just waiting to see what happens next and wait for people to come," Curtis said.

Nearly half a mile away, to hikers came across the bottle and immediately alerted authorities. Meanwhile, the stranded family had used rocks to spell out SOS on the ground.

When rescue pilot Joe Kingman was surveying the area, the sign caught his attention and he was able to locate the family and, with the help of a rescue team, airlifted them to safety.

"A lot of pieces fell into place just right for these folks," Kingman told ABC News. That a message in a bottle saved their lives was something Hunter was still coming to terms with.

"Stuff like that only happens in the movies really," he said. "Seeing like an actual message in a bottle be the reason someone actually got saved is just mind blowing to me."

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When a family got stranded atop a massive waterfall during their four-day hiking trip in California, the only way they could think to call for help was with an SOS message in a bottle.
stranded family, sos message, california, massive waterfall rescue
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2019-29-12
Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:29 AM
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