KEY POINTS

  • The hiker was reported missing Monday after texting a friend with a photo of his surroundings 
  • The friend sent the photo to the LASD, who then asked for public help online
  • The lost hiker was rescued alive at around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday

A lost hiker was found alive after a helpful stranger successfully tracked his location using only the photo he sent earlier to a friend, authorities announced Tuesday.

Rene Compean, 46, was reported missing in the Los Angeles National Forest at about 6 p.m. Monday by a friend who got a text from the hiker informing him that he was lost.  Compean sent his friend a picture of the surroundings of his location. His phone was almost out of battery, and he didn't know how to go back home, so he knew he was in danger.

A rescue mission was led by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) Monday night after they received information from Compean's friend, according to a report by NBC Los Angeles. The LASD asked for people online to help, so they could determine where exactly Compean was from the photo he sent.

A helpful stranger, who also liked to hike, attained success when he identified where Compean sent the picture from,  according to KTLA.

Benjamin Kuo gave the approximate coordinates of where to find Compean hours after the LASD requested assistance. Kuo, who uses satellite images, claims that he has a strange hobby where he tries finding out the locations of pictures. He thinks that a recent wildfire in the area may have led to signs burning down and forcing Compean to take a wrong turn. 

LASD Sgt. John Gilbert said that the info from Kuo was worth investigating since it was a significant hint. The LASD mobilized their Air Rescue 5 to investigate the coordinates and areas of Twin Peaks East and Triplet Rocks, which led to them finding Compean at around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The lost hiker expressed his gratitude to Kuo when they finally met Tuesday virtually. "I crazy appreciate what you did...I really don't know if I could make it there another day. It was just so cold," Compean was quoted by NBC Los Angeles as saying.

A similar incident involving hiking happened Friday when a pair of hikers in Utah became stranded on a mountain and needed search and rescue authorities to assist them. The two hikers finished a route but couldn't find their rappel stations. The rescue operation took more than 2 hours, but the hikers managed to find their rappel stations.

rescue Representative image Photo: Pixabay