A family of hikers who became stranded above a 40-foot waterfall in California were rescued thanks to a message in a bottle.
Curtis Whitson, 44, said he was backpacking the Arroyo Seco River with his girlfriend and his 13-year-old son and after about two and a half days of trekking, they ended up at a gorge surrounded by 40-foot walls of solid rock.
Whitson said the river current was too strong to pass, and he discovered a rope that he expected to be in place to let them down was missing.
They had no cellphone service and were trapped above the 40-foot waterfall.
Whitson scratched out the word ‘Help’ on his water bottle in an act of desperation and inserted a note reading: “We are stuck here @ the waterfall – get help please.”
The family tossed the bottle over the waterfall and set up some rocks on a tarp reading “S.O.S.” to help rescue crews find them.
That message in a bottle found its way to hikers downstream. They alerted authorities who launched a search.
The helicopter discovered the family sleeping next to the “S.O.S.” sign and from the loudspeaker they heaard, “This is Search and Rescue. You have been found.”
“It was one of the best feelings,” Whitson excitedly said, “Nothing was sweeter than those words uttered by CHP.”