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Dispatcher Finds Injured Hiker On Facebook After 911 Call Cuts Out

LAKE BERRYESSA (CBS13) — A hiker critically injured in a 150-foot fall was found after a 911 call was disconnected thanks to Facebook.

The father and son were hiking on a remote trail when they had to call for help.

The California Highway Patrol in Sacramento got the 911 call from the 11-year-old saying he was rappelling with his father, and father had fallen and hit his head.

The call from young Jake cut out before he could tell them where his father fell. Firefighters had no idea where to do.

"We are both working vigorously on trying to find out who this person is, where this person is at, especially when we don't have a definite location," said dispatcher Shari Speakman.

The only clue dispatchers had was where the call connected with a cellphone tower near Vacaville, more than 30 miles away from where Jake and his dad Ryan Pritchard were actually hiking along the Blue Ridge Loop Trail near Lake Berryessa.

Dispatchers were hitting a dead-end when a trainee who had only been on the job for three weeks tried to help.

"I decided to search myself since they were busy, so I plugged the name into Google and his LinkedIn account came up," said Breanna Martinez. "So I was able to get a picture and know he was from Sacramento."

Using his name and image, Martinez made a match on Facebook.

"I scrolled down and the very first post was a picture of his two sons and behind him was the lake—Lake Berryessa," she said. "And it just said 'Hiking the Blue Ridge Trail today.'"

That post helped bring rescue crews to the area in time to get Pritchard out before sunset.

"Being in law enforcement 31 years I don't know that I would have thought of that," said Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara.

His family says Pritchard had several fractured bones, a head injury and a broken jaw from the fall, but his son Jake was not hurt.

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