A BRITISH safari guide survived an excruciating 15 hours clinging on for dear life to his truck which was partly submerged in a crocodile-infested river.
Mike Turner, 56, took a wrong turn as he followed his phone’s navigation app off a motorway bridge and into the deadly waters below.
“I was absolutely terrified,” Turner told The Times of his horrors in the Komati river near Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The 56-year-old, who is originally from Cumbria, was driving his ten-seater game-viewing vehicle through heavy rain on Thursday night to pick up guests in Mozambique.
However, instead of taking the N4 highway bridge, his maps led him a few miles downstream where the strong current threatened to wash him away.
Realising he was about to be swept into the torrents, Turner managed to drive against the current and wedge his truck between the river and a narrow bridge.
He quickly phoned to help – but the terrifying river conditions prevented search-and-rescue volunteers from getting to him.
Turner was forced to stay put for over 15 hours in the back of his mostly flooded car while the rescuers and crocodiles watched on.
“It was a miserable night for him,” said Pottie Potgieter, who coordinated the rescue mission.
“He could easily have ended up left in bits and pieces by the crocodiles or taken downriver to the waterfall.”
By Friday morning, the bad weather finally broke and a helicopter was able to swoop in and airlift Turner to safety.
The brave safari guide was later treated for dehydration, hunger and shock.
Potgieter said: “He thought he was going to die, but in the end I think he felt a bit stupid.
“He said he had been following Google Maps and it took him what was the shortest, but obviously not the best route. But he still went ahead and followed it.”
Only hours before Turner was almost swept away by the river, a walker had been dragged in.
Their body was found on Sunday.
“Well, what the crocodiles had left of him,” Potgieter added.
Google and other GPS maps have come under increased scrutiny in recent years after users blamed them for directing them into unnecessary risk.
Google Maps is said to be removing a route to a township in Cape Town after a string of tourists were guided into danger.
Once they landed at the airport, the navigation app allegedly showed them the shortest route to nearby hotels and beaches through Nyangda, one of South Africa’s most violent neighbourhoods.
Google is also currently being sued by the family of a driver who followed the maps off a bridge in North Carolina that had collapsed nine years earlier.
In Scotland, mountaineering authorities have warned walkers on Ben Nevis not to use Google Maps after it seemingly directed them towards “potentially fatal” tracks close to the mountain’s cliffs.