SHELL KNOB, Mo. – Two missing hikers were saved thanks to new technology.
The hikers were lost for nearly seven hours on the Mark Twain Forest trails. Firefighters rescued them in near triple-digit temperatures.
“It’s a very popular, well-known hiking trail type area and they happened to get turned around and lost on those trails and couldn’t find their way back to the vehicle and called for help,” said Fire Chief Rusty Rickard with the Central Crossing Fire Protection District.
After the 911 call came in, it took rescuers just 45 minutes to find the out-of-state hikers thanks to new technology called SARTopo. Central Crossing has been using the technology for about a year.
“It’s the difference in using the technology from the cell phone towers to try to triangulate their phone or ping their phone versus using the actual GPS location within their phone to find their actual location,” Rickard said.
Thankfully, the hikers had enough cell service to click a link that sent rescuers their exact location.
“When they called for help, dispatch told them to stay put, which they mostly did, which was key,” said firefighter Scott Robertshaw, who worked with K9 Loki to find the hikers.
The hikers started at a fire tower in Shell Knob and walked around for over six hours before calling for help.
Rescuers took the hikers back another way to get to familiar ground.
“It was a gully that was less steep,” Robertshaw said. “The subjects, once we had found them, were ready for the least hilly, you know they had been out there for six hours on a hike and were ready to get back to their car so we tried to find the least difficult way back out, which led to the road. Then we shuttled back to their car.”
The entire rescue took one hour.
“Thanks to technology working well and our K9 team, everybody was able to get to them real quick and we got them back to their vehicle and everything was fine,” Rickard said.