A Facebook post with the simple message “Help. In Danger. Call police,” saved the lives of two American tourists in Bali after they drove off the side of a road on motorbike late one night last week.
After tumbling down into a ditch in Bali’s Ubud area, American man Michael Lythcott posted an SOS to his Facebook profile. The Atlanta native says he was able to switch on the roaming mode of his American mobile phone, allowing him to get online and post a cry for help. The Facebook post quickly went viral and Lythcott was able to share the pair’s GPS location, while friends of his got in touch with the American embassy, triggering a rescue.
Propped up in a hospital bed at the international hospital, BIMC, Michael Lythcott explains in a two-minute video posed on Sunday, the chain of events that left him with multiple injuries, including a fractured spine, ribs, and head.
It was around 2:30-3am in the morning, and Lythcott was driving his friend Stacey Eno on the back of his scooter up a hill, on the way to their hotel. The headlights of an oncoming car temporarily blinded them. Lythcott said he then realized there was a curve coming up, but it was too late.
“I just put the brakes on. The brakes didn’t respond. We kept going forward. I think we hit some gravel. At that point we couldn’t stop moving.”
Lythcott added that there was an earthquake that hit in between the time of the accident and his rescue, so that may have impacted his driving, but he can’t say for sure.
“I don’t know if this was when the earthquake hit or not, honestly I don’t have a lot of memory of the whole thing. The timeline coincides with the earthquake hitting around the same time,” he explains in the video.
“We kept moving forward and went over the edge. I don’t remember anything after that except waking up then in some kind of woods or jungle on an incline, slowly slipping down in the darkness with no glasses. Thankfully I had my cell phone in my pocket. That’s when i was able to put out the Facebook SOS and you guys saved our lives.
“Even the memory of the Facebooking, sending that GPS location and talking to the embassy, friends calling, a lot of that’s a bit of a blur. I also had a skull fracture when I hit the ground,” he concluded.
Over US$31,000 has been raised on a GoFundMe page, launched to help Lythcott pay his medical bills, physical therapy, and accommodations in Bali until he is cleared for travel.
An update posted to Lythcott’s crowdfunding page says that the man was released from BIMC on Tuesday and has been cleared for travel starting on Sept. 14.
Meanwhile, although her injuries were not as comprehensive as Lythcott’s, Eno has also spent some time in the hospital and a GoFundMe page has been launched for her too.
Nearly US$10,000 was raised via crowdfunding to pay for the young woman’s treatment and surgeries, involving a broken arm, nose, and cheekbones.