Did Google Earth help save a woman on a deserted island?

It’s an amazing story — a woman is trapped on a deserted island for years, until a kid in Minnesota notices her “SOS” on the beach and she is later saved. It’s amazing, but it’s also completely fabricated.

fake sos

The original story goes something like this:

In 2007, Gemma Sheridan and 2 friends set out on a voyage that was to take them from their home town of Liverpool, across the Atlantic to the Panama Canal and then onwards to the beautiful island of Hawaii… There was a huge storm that took out the boats electronics and washed her 2 friends overboard and seriously damaged her boat. Without any electronics and with a damaged boat, Gemma drifted for 17 days until she was hit by another major storm. During the storm, Gemma was knocked unconscious and the rest is history… I spent the next few weeks clearing space and finding materials to build a huge sign in the sand on the beach… We talked for what seemed like an eternity, then I asked the voice on the other end “How did you find me” to which they replied “Some kid from Minnesota found your SOS sign on Google Earth”

The Waffles at Noon site does a great job of breaking everything down. In short, the main story was largely taken from the real story of Ed Stafford, and combined with a satellite image from a few years ago in Kyrgyzstan.

I’ve attempted to locate the image in Google Earth (which is likely tucked away inside of some historical imagery but I’ve been unsuccessful so far. If you can find it, please leave a comment and share it with us.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


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