How a Message in a Bottle Saved a Trio of Campers Stranded in Central California

A successful S.O.S.

Curtis Whitson, traveling California’s Arroyo Seco tributary with his girlfriend and teenage son, encountered a dangerous situation when confronted with a 40-foot waterfall and no alternative route. Having taken this journey before, he anticipated a rope at the top of the chute to help them repel down, but it was missing. Stranded, with no cell reception and a limited food supply, he needed to act fast.

According to the Washington Post, “Whitson looked at his lime-green Nalgene water bottle, and he suddenly had an idea: He scratched “HELP!” on each side of the bottle and scribbled an S.O.S. note on a piece of paper with the date, June 15, and their whereabouts—then tucked it inside. He tossed the bottle over the water chute and silently begged the universe for somebody downstream to find it.”

Amazingly, hikers spotted the bottle and retrieved the note. Later that night, the trio awoke to helicopters altering them to their imminent rescue.

You can read more about this incredible story here.

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