Good old 'unsmart' phone helps cops find stuck climber

  • Sudipto Mondal, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2014 21:46 IST
Twenty-four-year-old-Gaurav-Arora-gets-medical-attention-after-the-rescue-HT-photo

A water bottle, a torch, a Swiss knife, a length of rope, protein bars, maybe a compass and binoculars. What else would you take if you were going to a remote area for rock climbing?

If adventure junkies on the internet are to be believed, you can't leave home without your trusty smartphone. There are hundreds of smartphone apps out there that provide everything from navigation tips to survival and first aid advice in case of a mishap.

But, what if you take a tumble in the middle of nowhere and your fully loaded smartphone runs out of battery?

That's exactly what happened to Delhi-based techie Gaurav Arora when he went climbing to the Madhugiri Hills on the outskirts of Bangalore on Sunday.

The 24-year-old fell off the face of Asia's second largest monolithic rock and slid 300 feet. He was injured and alone in the wild as darkness fell.

The Madhugiri Hills on the outskirts of Bangalore. (Inset) Injured Gaurav Arora (HT photo)

And then, his smartphone ran out of battery.

Luckily, his climbing partner, Priyank Sharma, had stowed a good old 'unsmart' phone in Gaurav's rucksack that helped the climber establish contact with his friend.

The trusty old phone, which cost just Rs 1,000, stayed with Gaurav during the 10 hours till rescuers found him. "He was giving us directions (with the help of the good old phone) till the moment we found him," said Madhugiri circle inspector C Girish.

"I don't know why I put my phone in his bag. Just one of those things...But it saved his life," Priyank, who raised an alarm after Gaurav did not return after a few hours, told HT.

Girish discounted earlier media reports that claimed that a photograph Gaurav sent through WhatsApp from his smartphone helped the rescue teams "pinpoint" his location.

"The photo he sent was of the Madhugiri Town taken from where he was stuck. All it did was help us figure out which side of the hill he was," said Girish, "That's an area of several dozen square kilometres."

"It was midnight by the time we got close to him," Girish added. In the darkness, the police team wasted nearly two hours trying to zero in on Gaurav's location.

"That's when we had an idea," said Girish, "We asked him to start shooting pictures on his camera with the flash on. We then found him within minutes."

So, a camera with a flash and an 'unsmart' phone —two more items on the must-carry list.

Gaurav is presently recovering at a city hospital and is said to be out of danger.

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