Benjamin Kuo enjoys looking at photos and figuring out precisely where they’ve been taken. He happily admits that being a satellite mapping enthusiast is a “very weird hobby. But recently, his quirky interest may just have saved a California man’s life.
Rene Compean was hiking alone in Angeles National Forest when he realized he no longer knew where he was.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the 45-year-old texted a photo of his legs dangling over the edge of a canyon to a pal. In the message, he said he was lost and his phone battery was dying.
The police department released the image to the public, hoping someone might recognize the scenery and know where Compean was.
Are You an Avid Hiker in the Mt. Waterman Area? #LASD SAR Teams need help locating a #missing hiker. He sent this picture to a friend. His car was found near Buckhorn Campground/Trailhead. Call us if you recognize the area pictured below 818-248-3464. https://t.co/Xi0VL6Mxfi pic.twitter.com/1lUMrgj4y9
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) April 13, 2021
Luckily, Kuo saw the report. And he had a hunch—notifying the police with what he thought were the correct GPS coordinates for Kuo’s location.
“I was hoping I didn’t send them on a wild goose chase, and then they’d get mad at me,” Kuo said to KCBS-TV in LA.
Kuo didn’t have to worry about leading anyone on wild goose chases for long. A rescue helicopter was sent out to the canyon, and Compean was found on a ridge less than a mile away from the coordinates Kuo had given.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) April 14, 2021
Compean was found safe and in no need of medical care. And he couldn’t have been more grateful for Kuo’s unique hobby, saying to him, “I crazy appreciate what you did… I really don’t know if I could make it there another day. It was just so cold.”
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