Nfld. & Labrador

Google Maps leads Toronto man down treacherous road near Gander

A Toronto man who was in central Newfoundland for business last week got into trouble when the smartphone application he was using led him down a backcountry road.

'Wasn't really a good idea to take a side road,' Mark Shardar says, but Google Maps has disclaimer

Mark Shardar says a Google Maps app on his cellphone took him down a treacherous back road near Gander, N.L., when he was trying to get to the airport to take a flight back to Toronto. (Geoff Bartlett/CBC)

A Toronto man who was in central Newfoundland for business last week got into trouble when the smartphone application he was using led him down a backcountry road.

Mark Shardar decided to do a bit of sightseeing in his rental car, and take some pictures of local scenery, before catching his flight back to Toronto on Wednesday.

When he was ready to leave to catch his flight, he used the Google Maps app on his phone to navigate the roads back to Gander International Airport.

"Google Maps showed me to take a side road — and it seems like that wasn't really a good idea," he said.

"By the time I realized [his situation], I was 10-11 kilometres in. It was snow covered and the car got completely stuck."

It took two hours for police to get to Mark Shardar's vehicle out of the central Newfoundland predicament. (Marsh Motorsports)

In its terms of use, Google says it does not guarantee "accuracy of completeness" of any content in the Maps or Earth features.

The disclaimer says Google and its licencors are not liable for any damages or losses resulting from use of Google Maps.

Missed flight

With time running out to return the rental car and catch his flight, Sharder started to get desperate.

"I had to dig [out] with bare hands because [there was] no cellphone reception, so I tried to push forward trying to get a signal," he said.

"Eventually I had to call for help from the police and it took them about two hours to get to me because the roads are not accessible."

Police helped him organize getting a tow truck to get the car pulled out, and eventually the car was returned and a new flight was booked.

Not the 1st time

Shardar said he checked two different applications during his ordeal, and both showed the back road as a legitimate way to go.

He said the tow truck driver who helped him said there have been three recent incidents of other people going down the road and getting stuck.

When talking to police, Shardar recommended that they do something to prevent other people from driving down the road.

"I was telling the officers, 'I think it's a good idea to put up a sign.'"

"Somebody could get hurt."


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