Three trapped hikers in California were saved when a bottle containing their plea for help was found, according to CNN.
Curtis Whitson, his girlfriend Krystal Ramirez, and his teenage son, Hunter, were hiking on Father’s Day weekend when they found themselves trapped at the top of a waterfall in the Arroyo Seco Canyon in California’s Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. A rope that Whitson had used in the past to rappel down the steep cliffs that stood between them and their camp was gone.
“My heart sank when I realized the volume of water was just too dangerous to make rappelling down possible,” Whitson said, CNN reported.
After trying unsuccessfully to find their way out of the park, Whitson wrote an SOS note, put it in one of their empty water bottles, and threw it in the river.
“We are stuck here at the waterfall,” Whitson wrote. “Get help please.” He also scratched “HELP!” onto the side of the bottle in the hopes that it would catch someone’s eye.
Ramirez told the Washington Post that she had “brought pens and bar order pad for a way to keep score playing card games” because she was “very competitive.” Little did she know that this pad would end up helping to save them.
They also spelled out SOS with rocks.
Other hikers found the bottle soon afterward. They alerted authorities, and the California Highway Patrol Air Operations Unit began looking for the three missing adventurers. They were found within hours, and rescued the following day.
Tony Ramage of the CHP, a new father himself, told CBS News “[i]t would’ve been pretty – almost impossible in some areas to actually get out of there, you know?”
Ramage’s CHP colleague, Todd Brethour, added, “[t]hey were really out of options if they hadn’t gotten the message out that way, it might’ve been a while.”