ATCEMS uses app to help rescue hiker who fell twenty feet off cliff

The use of an app helped rescue an injured hiker who fell twenty feet off a cliff in Dripping Springs in March.

"We were rock climbing, and he took a 20 foot fall and he fell onto rocks," a lady said to dispatch on the 911 call.

"Is he awake?" dispatch asked.

"Yes, he is awake. He is in a lot of pain," the lady responded.

Austin-Travis County EMS used the What3Words App to locate them and find the nearest parking lot for the helicopter to land.

 "Do you have the ‘what three words’ for this patient’s location yet? What three words is in the call text; deviance, quicksand, pounce," said a dispatcher on the 911 call.


The What3Words App provides a unique three-word identifier for a 10-foot by 10-foot square on Earth’s surface, making it easier to communicate a location accurately.

"There's many places that just aren't covered by street addresses at all, especially around a city like Austin, Lake Travis or out in the woods, street addressing just doesn't work, and What3Words solves that," What3Words CMO Giles Rhys Jones said.

Jones said it helps during rescues and saves valuable time.

"You could use the What3Words app and just read out the three words of exactly where you are and because you've been built into the emergency service software, they will know exactly where to send help," Jones said.

Jones said the app has been used extensively by first responders in Austin for wilderness rescues, music festivals, and locating homeless people. He said it could be the future of navigation.

"I certainly think that What3Words can become a standard. It’s just a very simple way to communicate location," Jones said.