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Sometimes you need to look out the window

Mar 19, 2007
 
Apparently it’s not just mariners who need to avoid blind faith in GPS and electronic charts, it appears automobile drivers could use a dose of common sense as well. This cautionary tale comes from Britain:

“This is what happened to a driver who put her faith in her satellite navigation system – she ended up in deep water. The £96,000 (about $187,000) Mercedes sports car was swept away in a swollen river and the motorist had to be rescued as it sank.

“The driver, the latest of many to be led astray by satnavs (GPS), was on her way to a christening party in Leicestershire when she was sent down a winding track usually used only by farmers in their 4x4s.

“Although the track is signposted as ‘unsuitable for motor vehicles’, the driver carried on and found herself at a ford in the village of Sheepy Magna.

“Still accepting what the satnav told her, she set out to cross the ford, but it was swollen after days of heavy rain.

“The Mercedes SL500 was swept 600 yards downstream, bouncing fromone bank of the River Sense to the other as the woman, in her late 20s and from London, frantically tried to escape.

“She was finally rescued by villager Alice Clark when the car ran aground.

“Miss Clark, a 24-year-old stables owner, said: ‘She was screaming “help me, help me” as she struggled to get the door open.

“‘I waded in to the chest-deep water using a log as a buoyancy aid.

“‘Just as I reached her the electrics went, causing the windows to open and even more water started gushing in.

“‘Had I not held on to some barbed wire attached to the bank and the log I would have been swept away.

“‘Luckily she was not a big girl so I desperately hauled her through the window into the river.

“‘Seconds later, the car became completely submerged as it filled with water.’

“Miss Clark’s boyfriend then took the woman, who gave her name only as Hayley, to a motorway service station where a chauffeur-driven Bentley collected her.

“Miss Clark said: ‘Afterwards she sent me a big bouquet of flowers to say “thank you”.’

“The car remained stuck in the river for a week after the incident on March 3 until it was recovered by a tow-truck. It is believed to be a write-off.”