Google Maps Leads Tourists To Crocodile-Inhabited River

Google Maps, which is a great tool for finding new places and getting route directions, is becoming more of a bane than a boon, as two young men were lucky to find themselves alive after a Google Maps error left them stranded in the heart of Australia’s wilderness for several days.

Philipp Maier and Marcel Schoene, two German tourists, embarked on a straightforward drive from Cairns en route to the small town of Bamaga in Queensland’s northern region on February 4, 2024. For their trip, they decided to completely depend on the popular navigation system, Google Maps, for directions.

“We decided, ‘OK, let’s follow Google Maps because Google Maps knows maybe more than we know’,” said the duo to Australian outlet 9News.

Contrary to their belief, their journey took an unfortunate turn, as the maps led the duo to a remote dirt road, which turned out to be the entrance to the Oyala Thumotang National Park that was closed to the public since December 2023.

About 37 miles (59 km) into the drive, their car got stuck in the wet mud. With no cell service and limited supplies, the tourists were compelled to abandon the vehicle and embark on a more than a week-long hiking expedition to return safely to Cairns.

Recalling the ordeal, the tourists said that they had to face harsh weather conditions and rising temperatures, cross a crocodile-inhabited river, and even spend nights under the open sky after failing to construct a temporary shelter in the wilderness.

“I feel like in a movie, like in a bad movie, but it had a happy ending. We tried to build a shelter. But that didn’t work really well. So we slept under the sky. It was raining the whole time, but it was okay,” Maier said.

Google has since acknowledged the unfortunate incident and confirmed that the road in question has been removed from Google Maps.

“We apologize for this incident and are relieved that Philipp and Marcel are safe. We can confirm that this path has been removed from the map,” a Google spokesperson said in response to the incident.

According to the company, multiple sources are used to update locations, including third-party data, user contributions, Street View, and satellite imagery, for map updates.

This is not the first time that people have ended up in dire situations due to a Google Maps error. In one incident, Google Maps had directed a group of Californians off the main highway and led them into the desert on their way back from Las Vegas.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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