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Text to 911 rescues lost California man

Because of spotty cell phone service, he couldn't get a coherent call in to 911 for a rescue, but was able to send a text for help.

Posted: Mar. 20, 2018 6:32 PM
Updated: Mar. 20, 2018 6:52 PM

COOS COUNTY, OR. -- A text message sent to 911 helped save a California man over the weekend after his GPS led him down the wrong road into the Elliott State Forest.

According to the Coos County Sheriff’s office, Matthew Flint, 28, was using his GPS to get back to California from the Oregon coast when it told him to make a wrong turn into the forest.

When dispatch couldn’t understand that 911 call, they told him to send a text message, and was able to tell them where he was and what happened with his GPS.

A sheriff’s deputy was able to get out to him within an hour.

Dede Clements from Coos County dispatch said situations like this one, especially with more people wanting to hike and drive through the wilderness areas, are just one of the reasons they put this system in place.

“The other reason why you may want to text to 911 instead of a call, would be if you need to be quiet. You shouldn’t use your voice. Maybe there’s somebody around that’s threatening you, you can send a text. Or, if we have somebody that’s voice or hearing impaired, they can use text to 9-1-1.”

Coos County Dispatch wants to reiterate that the text messaging system is not a primary form of communicating with them, unless it’s those types of situations. If you can, please give them a call before sending a text.

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