'Very, very lucky' tourist rescued after night stranded on mountain cliff
Rescue crews warn about inaccurate apps after hiker took exposed scrambling route up Crown Mountain
A hiker who spent a cold, wet night clinging to the side of a cliff on the North Shore mountains has been rescued, with crews saying he's "very, very lucky" he's unhurt.
Michael Buckingham became lost on Crown Mountain around 4:45 p.m. PT on Monday. He phoned for help, saying he was stranded on a ledge.
He was rescued by helicopter just after 8 a.m. PT Tuesday.
Buckingham, a 37-year-old British tourist, stood on his own after being lowered from the helicopter's long line, explaining to nearby crews that something had gone wrong with an app he'd been using to navigate.
North Shore Rescue search manager Simon Jackson said Buckingham didn't have a lot of hiking experience in the area.
Jackson said the hiker's app had an inaccurate map, which led him into a treacherous situation.
The team posted a photo of Buckingham as he was trapped on the ledge.
"This is an extreme example of what can happen when you get off route. Very, very lucky to have not fallen," the caption read.
"It's not a hiking trail," said Jackson. "It's a scramble trail, with some pretty exposed sections."
Steve Jones, an experienced hiker and nature photographer, said cellphone-based trail map apps are often inaccurate.
He said many only harvest map data from other hikers, bikers and even rope climbers — data that's missing critical information like degree of difficulty and seasonal conditions.
"There will be a lot of lines that are shown on a map that might be mountaineering routes or maybe they're wrong — and people who don't understand that might be tempted to follow those lines and that is where they get into trouble."
With files from Yvette Brend