Amber VanHecke is a true survivor. The University of North Texas student survived five days on her own while stranded in the Grand Canyon after her GPS took her down a nonexistent road. On March 12, she ran out of gas and became stranded.
She recounted the horrifying experience on Good Morning America.
“I was panicking and crying and sobbing. I felt very disconnected from just everything and everyone,” she said. “I turned anyway and figured I’d see the road momentarily. It was getting dark. I came up to a fence with no roads in sight. Panicked since GPS stopped working too. Finally found it but was at 0 to empty. Parked by the first man-made structure I found and decided to wait ’til daylight. Turns out my reserve was exhausted, too.”
For the next five days, VanHecke survived on nuts, seeds, dried fruit and ramen noodles. She tried to take matters into her own hands by making a barricade along a nearby path to prevent cars from passing by without noticing her. She also constructed a 10-foot-tall “SOS” sign and 30-foot-tall “HELP” sign out of rocks in hopes of attracting rescue workers. Unfortunately, both of her attempts were unsuccessful.
Realizing she had to do more, VanHecke hiked 11 miles until she got a cell signal and called 911. Midway through the call, she lost service again. Luckily, she was on the phone long enough for rescue workers to track her down. Roughly 40 minutes later, she was spotted by an air ambulance pilot.
“She was a survivor, she did a lot of things that helped her survive,” the pilot said. “Those notes were clues and those clues led us to where she was.”
Now Vanhecke is trying to raise money for medical expenses. Seriously, this is our worst nightmare and we’re happy she got out of there in one piece. Note to self: never, ever trust your GPS.