WhatsApp and a selfie come to stranded hikers’ rescue

selfie saves couple on winnats pass cliff sony dsc
Chris Barnes/Flickr (used under Creative Commons)

The souless selfie has served a purpose beyond egotism, for a change. A selfie sent to a rescue team saved a couple who had gotten lost on a cliffside ledge, in the Peak District of England.

The young couple got stuck after they hiked the steep bank of Winnats Pass, in the English county of Derbyshire. They contacted emergency services and sent a selfie with the backdrop, to better describe their location. The rescue team also had the couple send their GPS location via WhatsApp, according to the BBC.

Edale Mountain Rescue told the BBC that it was the first time a selfie assisted in a rescue.

“They had described the location very well, and then one said, ‘I’ve got an idea, I’ll send you a picture as well,’ saying they were in a shadow cave in the background of the picture,” said Steve Rowe, the duty leader and medical officer. He said six rescuers were dispatched to the cliffside ledge to bring back the uninjured pair. The couple was guided down the hill with ropes.

Rowe said the couple told the rescue team that they couldn’t climb up “because it’s a sheer cliff,” and they couldn’t hike down because the terrain was too dangerous,” the Derbyshire Times reported.

“The couple had reported themselves as being stuck in a cave and there was a contact number so we called them and they said they had scrambled up to the left of Winnats Pass,” Rowe said.

Winnats Pass is known for its winding hills and numerous caves.

“The name Winnats is short for ‘Windygates’ and on a windy day you will see why it came by that name, for the wind seems to swirl around everywhere,” according to the Peak District Information website. “The ‘pass’ part of the name is something of a misnomer – Winnats is a steep-sided limestone valley with cliffs on all sides, which climbs out of the Hope Valley onto the limestone plateau area above.”

While it’s more common to hear about people falling off cliffs and other mishaps in failed selfie attempts, it’s finally nice to hear about a happier ending.