The rescue of two American travelers in Bali was fueled largely in part by social media, adding a new layer to the phrase “It’s all in who you know.” CNN reported that traveler Michael Lythcott and another American named Stacey Eno were involved in a scooter accident on the Indonesian island of Bali that sent them careening over an embankment and into a ditch in late August.
Lythcott is both an active traveler and social media user, and as a result of that, he has friends from multiple countries around the world that he keeps in touch with via his Facebook account. He was driving Eno on his scooter in the city of Ubud when the pair were passed by a van. Needing to stop as they approached a turn, the brakes went out. “After it passed, I could see a turn coming up,” Lythcott told CNN, “So I hit the brakes as normal, but the brakes didn’t slow the bike, leaving us very little time to make a move and not enough time to negotiate the turn.”
The pair, which had arrived in Bali a mere seven hours earlier, went off the road and into a ravine. “My back felt half broken,” Lythcott said. “I couldn’t move and barely could pull myself up when I found a thick vine in the dark. Every move, I kept slipping.” Eno was also injured and unable to escape from the ravine. “I then did think ‘I’m gonna die here,’ because no one knew we were here or went over and we were both hurt and for a minute I couldn’t even remember how we got there.”
In the accident, a cell phone with an Indonesian SIM card that Lythcott had been carrying went flying. Fortunately, he still had his American phone in his pocket. Out of options and trapped in the dark, Lythcott turned to social media in a desperate plea for help. His post read, “Help. In danger. Call police.” A Los Angeles-based friend determined the pair’s location using online maps, after Lythcott had marked the location via a WhatsApp pin drop. Once this was noted on Lythcott’s post, another friend in Prague researched contact numbers of the local consulate and another friend, based in the Netherlands, got in touch with the local police.
“I got a call from a guy named Joe from the [consulate] who said help was coming but to help him find me,” Lythcott recalled. “I told him there was a hotel near my GPS pin, that I’d be just before that hotel, then my battery died.” A few hours later, he heard the rescue party above them on the road and yelled out. Lythcott and Eno were lifted by the team into back of a flatbed truck and transported to a nearby hospital, then to another one in the town of Kuta after X-rays determined major medical procedures were necessary.
Lythcott suffered a fractured skull, broken wrist, and a perforated abdomen. Chest tubes were used to inflate his lungs; he had surgery on his skull to fix a fracture, on his broken wrist, and then on his abdomen to fix the perforation.
Eno fractured both of her cheekbones, her nose, and left wrist in the accident, but was released from the hospital.
Once he’s able to leave the hospital, Lythcott plans to fly to his sister’s home in Atlanta to recover from the tragic accident. “I’m super lucky,” he said.
H/T: CNN Travel