Lost hiker uses dying cellphone's light to signal for help in Hawaii

Hiker using cellphone in evening
(Image credit: Getty)

A man who became lost while hiking in Honolulu last week was able to summon help using the light of his phone, which was rapidly running out of charge. Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) was able to save the 43-year-old, who had spent around eight hours hiking Pearl City’s Mānana Ridge Trail, but became disoriented as night drew in.

The man, who hasn't been named, called 911 for help shortly after 7pm, explaining that his phone only had 40% charge remaining. Rescuers from HFD began an aerial search, and were able to limit the size of the area thanks to the phone's GPS, but it was essential to conserve its remaining power.

Eventually they were able to pinpoint the hiker's location on the ridge trail after asking him to signal using the device's flashlight, explained news site The News and Observer (opens in new tab).

HFD is extremely experienced when it comes to tricky rescues in isolated areas, and saved five lost hikers on Christmas Day alone.

Your phone can be a lifesaver

"In case of an emergency, your cell phone can be a lifesaver," said HFD in a statement after a similar rescue (opens in new tab) the week before, when two people were found despite only having 30% charge remaining on their phones. "Ensure that your battery is full prior to your hike. It is recommended to pack an external back-up battery."

If hiking solo, make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return, so they can alert emergency services if you're late. See our guide to the risks and benefits of hiking alone for more advice.

You may also want to consider a satellite communicator, which lets you send an SOS and text messages even in remote areas without cellular connectivity,

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).