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Trapped family are rescued from the top of a raging waterfall

Trapped family are rescued from the top of a raging waterfall after hikers found an SOS message in a bottle they had thrown into the frothing water

  • Curtis Whitson, 44, was trapped with his girlfriend and son, 13, in California
  • Trio hiked to the top of a gorge but became trapped after a rope was missing
  • Father scratched ‘HELP’ on water bottle with an SOS note sent it down waterfall
  • Family were saved when two hikers found green bottle and alerted rescue crew 

A family trapped above a raging 40ft waterfall were saved when they sent an SOS message in a water bottle which hikers found. 

Curtis Whitson was on a four-day camping trip with his girlfriend and son, 13, in Arroyo Seco, California, when they hiked up a remote gorge.

But Mr Whitson, 44, was horrified to discover that a rope to help the family descend down – which been attached when he made the journey seven years earlier – was missing.

Curtis Whitson was on a four-day camping trip with his girlfriend Krystal Ramirez and son, 13, in Arroyo Seco, California, when they hiked up a remote gorge

With no cell service to contact emergency services, the trio crafted an SOS sign with rocks in the hope someone would spot them.

Girlfriend Krystal Ramirez, from Morro Bay, California, told Washington Post: ‘I knew that our friends would call somebody at some point when we didn’t show up. But I was worried about how long it might take for anyone to find us.’ 

In an act of desperation, the father, a door repairman, scratched ‘HELP’ on all sides of his bright green water bottle, before scribbling an SOS note with date which he sealed inside. 

Ms Ramirez said: ‘He asked if I had something to write with, and I remembered that I’d brought pens and a bar order pad for a way to keep score playing card games. I’m very competitive.’ 

In an act of desperation, the father, a door repairman, scratched 'HELP' on all sides of his bright green water bottle, before scribbling an SOS note with date which he sealed inside

In an act of desperation, the father, a door repairman, scratched ‘HELP’ on all sides of his bright green water bottle, before scribbling an SOS note with date which he sealed inside

On the note he wrote 'WE ARE STUCK HERE @ THE WATERFALL GET HELP PLEASE' with the date

On the note he wrote ‘WE ARE STUCK HERE @ THE WATERFALL GET HELP PLEASE’ with the date

Launching the bottle through a narrow passageway in the waterfall, the family hoped that they would be found as they spent their first night atop the gorge.

Mr Whitson said: ‘It was a little scary. We hadn’t seen a single soul the entire trip’.

Luckily, two hikers had spotted the green water bottle in a narrow stream nearby and alerted a nearby campsite to call a search and rescue team. 

With no cell service to contact emergency services, the trio crafted an SOS sign with rocks in the hope someone would spot them

With no cell service to contact emergency services, the trio crafted an SOS sign with rocks in the hope someone would spot them

Search teams launched into action, flying a helicopter over the waterfall where they used night goggles and infrared cameras to spot their camp fire.

Using a loud speaker, they called to the family – who were asleep- that they would be back to rescue them in the morning, according to the publication.

Pilot Joe Kingman said the family were ‘very’ happy to see the helicopter, after crew airlifted the trio to safety.  

The waterfall where the family were trapped. Search teams launched into action, flying a helicopter over the waterfall where they used night goggles and infrared cameras to spot their camp fire

The waterfall where the family were trapped. Search teams launched into action, flying a helicopter over the waterfall where they used night goggles and infrared cameras to spot their camp fire

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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