Rene Compean took a snapshot of his feet when he found himself lost while hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains. He sent the image to a friend and said that he was lost. The shot showed his boots hanging from a cliff near Mount Waterman, about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Not only that, his phone’s battery was dying too.
This could have been a horrific and dangerous scenario if it hadn’t been for a stranger on the internet who was able to locate the missing hiker’s location and assisted the search and rescue team in finding him safe and unharmed.
Compean went missing around 6 pm on Monday, April 12, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department set out to locate the location where the snap was taken. Unfortunately, Compean’s location data was disabled, so they couldn’t trace his whereabouts through the picture. That’s when the authorities turned to social media for help.
They posted the photo and wrote that Compean’s car was discovered near the Buckhorn Campground/Trailhead, but that was the end of it.
Based on the photo and location description, Twitter user AI6YR (identified as Benjamin Kuo) was able to locate Compean’s location using satellite imagery to view the Mount Waterman area.
He included coordinates from Google Earth in a Twitter thread and then forwarded his predictions to the Sheriff’s department. Search and rescue teams found Compean on the afternoon of April 13.
On reaching home safe and sound, Rene Compean said of the incident, “First and foremost I want to thank God for getting me thru this safe and sound home,”
“Also to thank all those who played a role in searching and locating me. Thank you all for your prayers and the collaboration with each other.”