Family rescued after sending SOS in a bottle

Local News

MORRO BAY, Calif. (KLAS) — A man in California is happy to be alive today. Curtis Whitson and his family spent Father’s Day weekend backpacking the Arroyo Seco River, but near the end of their hike, they realized they were trapped — surrounded by high canyon walls and water.

So, they wrote an SOS message, put it in a water bottle and threw it over a waterfall.

“We had exhausted everything that we could do, and it was just… how long was it going to take for someone to find us,” Curtis Whitson said.

They found a place to stay, spelling out SOS in rocks and then waited.

“We were optimistic, but it was a matter of trying to keep our emotions positive,” Whitson said. “We were preparing for a long haul.”

Rescue came hours later after the unknown hikers just happened to discover the green bottle. Now, nearly three months later, Whitson’s life is all back to normal. That is — except for a lot of media attention his story is receiving. That’s because it’s a story of survival, ingenuity and good fortune.

“It just feels like a touch of Hollywood and there’s nothing Hollywood about any of us,” Whitson said. “We’re just normal people that had a set of circumstances that worked out the way that it did.”

Whitson said he was told two men found the bottle with the message and hiked a couple of miles to the campground to alert the host there. Whitson says he’d like to find those men and thank them.

Dave Alley has the full story in the video above.

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