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(WINTERS, Calif.) — An emergency dispatcher in California used social media to track down a badly-injured hiker after a 911 call got disconnected.

Ryan Pritchard careened off a cliff while hiking with his son Jake, 11, on California’s Blue Ridge Loop Trail. Pritchard hit his head in the 150-foot fall.

Jake, frightened, asked the dispatcher if she could bring his mother along.

The cell phone cut out before dispatcher Sheri Speakman could identify Pritchard’s position.

“It was kind of scary because we were at a loss,” Speakman said. “We had nothing.”

Dispatchers were able to locate the cell tower that the call came through, but it was 30 miles away from where they were.

Breanna Martinez — a trainee who had been working in the dispatch center for three weeks — plugged Ryan Pritchard’s name into Google, uncovering his LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

“The first post was with his sons, they were going rappelling on the Blue Ridge Trail,” Martinez said.

Rescuers zeroed in on Pritchard’s location, found him and airlifted him to the hospital before nightfall.

“If it had been another two hours, they wouldn’t have been able to hoist him out,” Speakman said.


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