How the Web and a Webcam Saved a Life
Article by George Norman
On 05 Feb 2010
It just goes to show you how useful the internet can be. Besides letting you download all sorts of useful applications, check out the latest software news, keep in touch with friends thousands of miles away, it can also save a man’s life. The internet, a webcam and a camera did just that – they saved the life of a German tourist in his forties.

The authorities announced that a woman admiring the sunset over the North Sea on a tourist webcam noticed something very peculiar. At periodic intervals of time, she would see a bright flash. If you are thinking that perhaps her monitor was acting up, or that the webcam was faulty, you would be wrong. As it turns out, the flashes were from the German tourist’s camera.

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The tourist had climbed over pack ice off the coast to photograph a sunset near the town of St. Peter-Ording, in Germany. While out on the ice, the man became disoriented and could no longer locate the beach. He thought it a good idea to flash his camera to signal for help – and it worked. The woman, hundreds of kilometers away, thanks to the internet saw his flashes on the webcam. She contacted the authorities who also used flashing. They flashed their car lights to guide the man to the show and to safety.

If it weren’t for the internet and a woman watching the sunset online, the man could have died. Since the air temperature was below freezing when he lost his bearing, he could have easily frozen to death on the ice pack. Or he could have fallen though the ice, said police spokeswoman Kristin Stielow.

If you think the German tourist received a warm welcome when he safely returned to shore, you would be wrong. The police used this occasion to lecture him on the dangers of trekking on ice. No matter how beautiful a sunset over frozen landscapes looks, one should never venture out onto the ice.



Tags: Web, Internet, Webcam, Accident, Germany
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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