Rescue video of youths who, relying on Google Maps, drive car into a river in Kerala’s Kasaragod goes viral

The visuals of Fire Force personnel pulling them to safety on 27 June went viral on social media platforms on 30 June.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 30, 2024 | 1:40 PM Updated Jun 30, 2024 | 1:40 PM

The car submerged in the river in Kasaragod in Kerala.

Two youths, who were on their way to a hospital using Google Maps to find their way, drove their car into a swollen river but had a miraculous escape as the vehicle got stuck to a tree in Kerala’s northernmost Kasaragod district.

The visuals of Fire Force personnel pulling them to safety from the overflowing river in Pallanchi in Kasaragod on 27 June went viral on social media platforms on Sunday, 30 June.

They could escape and contact the Fire Force personnel only because their vehicle, which was carried away by the water currents, got stuck in a tree.

The rescued youths said they were on their way to a hospital in neighbouring Karnataka in the wee hours the other day and were proceeding using Google Maps.

Also Read: Hyderabad-based tourists drive into stream in Kerala while using Google maps

‘No sidewall’

Abdul Rasheed, one of the youths, said Google Maps showed a narrow road and they drove their car through it.

“Using the vehicle’s headlight, we felt that there was some water in front of us. But, we didn’t see that there was a river on both sides and a bridge in the middle. There was also no sidewall for the bridge,” he told a TV channel.

The car suddenly began to get carried away in the water currents but later got stuck in a tree on the shores of the river.

By this time, they managed to open the car door, come out of the vehicle and contacted the Fire Force personnel by sending them the location.

Later, Fire Force personnel rushed to the place and pulled out the two men to safety using ropes.

“We never thought that we could come back to life. We truly feel that it is a rebirth,” Rasheed added.

Related: Does Google Maps fail you during inclement weather?

Previous incidents

Last month, a group of tourists from Hyderabad drove into a swollen stream near Kuruppanthara in Kottayam apparently after using Google Maps.

All four managed to escape unharmed due to the efforts of a nearby police patrol unit and local residents, but their vehicle was completely submerged.

The incident occurred late at night on 24 May, when the four-member group, including a woman, were going towards Alappuzha.

The road they were travelling on was covered by water overflowing from the stream due to the heavy rains, and since the tourists were unfamiliar with the area, they drove right into the water body while navigating using Google Maps, police said.

This is not the first such incident reported in Kerala.

In October last year, two young doctors died in a car accident which occurred after they allegedly followed directions on Google Maps and fell into a river.

However, the local police later said that visibility was very low because of heavy rain, and that the person driving the car took it forward ignoring a suggestion from Google Maps to take a left turn.

Yet, social media users were seen blaming the navigation app for the drowning of doctors Advaith and Ajmal, both 29.

The three others in the car, who had a providential escape from the ill-fated vehicle, said the driver had mistaken the river for a waterlogged road and drove ahead, and the navigation platform had nothing to do with the tragedy.

In August 2022, Parachal in the Kottayam district too witnessed a similar incident when a car, in which a family lost their way while following Google Maps, drove into a canal, with the currents sweeping it downstream.

The family was returning to Kumbanad from Ernakulam when the accident occurred at about 10.30 pm.

Thanks to the vigilance and quick rescue operations by local residents, they were able to save Dr V Soniya, her three-month-old daughter, mother Sosamma, and relative Anish from the car.

(With PTI inputs)

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