Must-Have iPhone App Helps Rescue Lost Hiker in Ontario


A 46-year-old man who got lost during a hike in Scanlon Creek Conservation Area in Bradford was safely rescued, thanks to the swift actions of a 911 dispatcher and the what3words geolocation app. As darkness fell and his phone battery hit critical levels, the hiker reached out for help.

South Simcoe police reported that the 911 Communicator promptly instructed the man to download the what3words app. The hiker then relayed the three unique words corresponding to his location and was advised to stay put. This guidance proved crucial as his phone battery ran out shortly after, reports CTV News.

With assistance from the Barrie Police K9 unit, tactical units, and a drone, officers scoured the area. Within just over an hour, the lost hiker was located and brought to safety. Although shaken, he was in good health and expressed his gratitude to the 911 Communicator for the guidance and reassurance provided during the ordeal.

South Simcoe Police emphasized the importance of “clear, concise communication” in such emergencies. They also recommended that individuals download the what3words app, especially when venturing into rural areas with spotty internet. The app assigns a unique three-word combination to every three-meter square globally, aiding in precise location tracking during emergencies.

While what3words is not intended to replace traditional street addresses, it serves as a complementary tool, especially in regions where conventional addressing falls short. Notably, these three-word designations remain consistent, irrespective of infrastructural changes in the area. It’s very hand for pinpointing entrances to a park or rural areas, even cemetery plots that can be hard to remember and pinpoint.

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This is not the first time what3words has been used to help rescue someone. We’ve previously shared stories of it rescuing hikers last year in Ontario, and it’s also being used by the Burlington Fire Department. 

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