HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A 61 year old woman is safe after becoming injured Saturday in the woods while hiking. Emergency officials say it was all because of her cell phone that they were able to find her during their two-hour search.
The woman, who has not been identified, was hiking when she fell and hurt herself. When she called emergency officials for help, she was not able to tell them anything other than that she was in the De Soto National Forest.
"We started looking for her and we did find her on one of the trails," said Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan. "And his was about the time it was getting dark."
Thanks to the woman's cell phone, authorities were able to ping her location and dispatch units to her. Sullivan says the woman was more than a mile away from the nearest road. Since they couldn't use a vehicle to get to her, they utilized one of their off-road vehicles.
"We were able to use our off-road, four-wheel Gator that is set up to transport patients," said Sullivan. "It's a medically specialized four-wheeler that's used to transport patients so we were able to go in and get her out."
Sullivan credits the woman with being prepared and having a fully-charged cell phone as the reason why search crews were able to find her within two hours.
"She had a cell phone and we were able to ping the cell phone, and that's one of the things we really stress to people when they're doing outdoors activities, like hiking in the woods," said Sullivan. "If you're going to be out somewhere, make sure you have a fully charged cell phone. In the past, we've had people out there and we'd start to work it and their cell phone would die. So we always advise having a fully charged phone with you or carrying a portable battery charger."
Because De Soto National Forest overlaps into both Harrison and Stone counties, Sullivan says all authorities in the area are notified when there is an emergency like this one. Among those helping to find the missing hiker was Harrison County Sheriff's Office and Fire Services, Wiggins Fire Department, and the National Park Service firefighters.
While few details were released about the woman's injuries, Sullivan says that it wasn't anything life-threatening. However, she was taken by AMR to a nearby hospital for treatment.