Twitter Saves Lives: Johannesburg Carjacking Victim Rescued Via Tweets, Top 5 Life Saving Social Media Moments

 @LisaEadicicco
on April 09 2012 1:00 PM

Twitter may be known as one of the most prominent social media tools to hit the web. However, the social networking service may be useful for more than keeping in touch with friends and sharing information.

On April 7th the Internet social sensation saved a carjack victim in South Africa, according to IOL News. Two armed men forced the victim into the boot of the car, but the hijackers didn't realize that the Johannesburg man still had his cellphone.  He then sent an SMS message to his girlfriend.

Be on the look for DSS041GP, she tweeted after receiving the message. my boyufriend has just been hijacked and is in the boot please RT.

Her friends began to circulate the message, which eventually got picked up by a user called @PigSpotter, boasting a following of more than 100,000 followers.  The user, who primarily uses his Twitter to warn Johannesburg drivers about speed traps, updated followers on the story as it progressed.

UPDATE: Hijacked car is now heading towards Kroonstad. Police are en route and tracing the active cell phone, read one tweet.

In less than an hour private rescue teams and security firms were investigating the matter, reported The Next Web. K9 Law Enforcement was able to track the location of the vehicle via the victim's cell phone. An hour later, the hijackers hit a road block and abandoned the car and its owner.

I think this does go to show [how] effective a networking tool PigSpotter and in general Twitter actually is, the user said when speaking to local South African newspaper The Star. This is not the first incident where someone has been rescued, or a vehicle has been retrieved as a direct result of tweeting me and it being RT'ed, and reaching the correct people at the exact moment.

This isn't the first time Twitter has been used to fight crime and save lives. Here are five other instances in which the social media tool has played a major role in safety procedures.

1. NBC reporter Ann Curry used Twitter to convince the U.S. Air Force to allow a Doctors Without Border flight to land in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010.

2. Twitter accounts have been created to warn Mexican patrons about real-time attacks and risk zones surrounding drug cartel wars near the Texas border, according to Quarterly Americas.

3. In 2009 actress Demi Moore received a disturbing tweet from a user named sandieguy. I'm just wondering if anyone cares that I'm gonna kill myself now, she wrote to Moore. After another suicidal message, the Ghost actress replied with Hope you are joking, sharing the story with nearly 400,000 followers. Authorities were then alerted to check on the woman.

4. Twitter also saved an Arkansas man from receiving the lethal injection in December 2011. After juror tweeted about his personal life, which included his jury duties, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned Erickson Dimas-Martinez's murder conviction.

5. Parents Dave Cormier and Donnie Stewart were on a hike with their toddler daughter in Canada when they realized she had eaten berries they didn't recognize. They posted a photo of the berry on Twitter, and were able to seek help after a response helped them identify it.

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