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11-hour ordeal: Google Maps misguides 5 Odisha students into dense forest, rescued

After exploring the temple and Vishnu Baba's mutt atop the hill, they began their journey back. However, Google Maps directed them deep into the Saptasajya forest, leaving them disoriented and lost by early afternoon on June 30.

11 hour ordeal: Google Maps misguides 5 Odisha students into dense forest, rescued AJR
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First Published Jul 2, 2024, 2:38 PM IST

Five friends from a private college in Cuttack had a harrowing experience after relying on Google Maps for navigation during their return journey from Odisha's Saptasajya temple, leading to an 11-hour ordeal in the forests of Dhenkanal.

The group, Sujitya Sahu, Surya Prakash Mohanty, Subhan Mohapatra, Himanshu Das, and Arakshita Mohapatra, had visited the temple and its surroundings on their bikes. After exploring the temple and Vishnu Baba's mutt atop the hill, they began their journey back. However, Google Maps directed them deep into the Saptasajya forest, leaving them disoriented and lost by early afternoon on June 30.

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Their reliance on the navigation app worsened their situation, as they found themselves in an area known as Bhuashuni Khola by evening, where visitors are prohibited. Exhausted and without food, the group attempted to contact authorities for help, eventually reaching out to the police.

A coordinated rescue operation was launched by the Dhenkanal police and forest department, dispatching two teams to locate and rescue the stranded students. One team approached from Majhi Sahi, while the other made its way from the temple side.

"We wanted to visit the temple. We crossed the temple step by step to the top of the hill and learned from Google Maps that a lovely location was there. However, after moving there, we found no proper route back except subways. We mistakenly reached Bhuashuni Khola, where visitors are banned, and couldn't find the way out," one of the students said.

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After hours of uncertainty, the authorities successfully located and rescued the five friends, bringing an end to their ordeal in the dense forests of Saptasajya.

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