Though older generations may be quick to scoff over the use of social media, a mother and daughter were recently rescued from their crashed car thanks to Snapchat.
38-year-old Gemma Fairweather and her 7-year-old daughter Martha were left teetering on the edge of a water-filled embankment after their car veered off of a country lane in England earlier this month.
The traumatizing incident happened just after 10pm while Fairweather was driving from Lowestoft, Suffolk to her home in Wymondham, Norfolk.
Fairweather had just dipped her headlights for an oncoming car when her Citroen ran off the road and rolled down a verge, narrowly missing a cluster of trees that took out the left wing mirror and smashed the passenger window.
Fairweather then contacted her boyfriend, Graham Potts, who lives just five minutes away from the crash site in Lowestoft. She asked him to call emergency services and help them escape, but the car was hidden from the road.
What followed was a frantic 20-minute search during which the stranded car could not be found by rescue crews.
“I was calling the emergency services and was giving the road name and my location according to [navigation] but they were on a completely different road,” said Fairweather. “Cars were driving past us, completely unaware that we were there. Honking the horn and flashing my lights was doing nothing.
Thankfully, Potts’s son Sam had the bright idea to use his Snapchat app in order to track down the mother-daughter duo.
Using the app’s geo-location Snap Map tool, the 15-year-old managed to pinpoint Fairweather’s exact location and alert emergency responders to her whereabouts.
“When Sam said to use Snapchat, I sent him message saying ‘can you see me?’ and then Graham was on the phone to emergency services guiding them to us,” said Fairweather. “The fire engines were only able to see the car because they were higher up and could see over the verge.
“It was very dramatic. The window had broken on Martha’s side and I could see the river through her window as we were teetering on the edge of the verge.
“It was absolutely freezing and it was pitch black. It felt like we were there for a lifetime but I called Graham at 10:10 and we were out the car at about 10:50.
“It was incredible how we were rescued by just a simple app.
“Martha was absolutely terrified – she said things to me that will stay with me for the rest of my life, but she was incredibly brave.”
The country lane has no barrier or street lights and Fairweather said she had no idea how lucky they were until they saw the car in the sunlight the following day.
“We couldn’t get out because the car would have toppled over,” says Fairweather. “It was epic really. We’re very lucky.
“I can’t thank the emergency services enough – they were incredible.”
Fairweather has warned motorists to be careful while driving in bad weather, adding on Facebook: “Note to self, never take the back roads.”
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