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Driving over unfamiliar back roads, the woman trusted her GPS unit to guide her to a friend's home in Belleville, Ont.

Instead she found herself stranded in the middle of a marsh, waiting for rescue on the roof of her partly submerged car on a rain-sodden night.

"I just feel stupid," said the 25-year-old federal corrections officer, who asked not to be identified because she's so embarrassed.

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On Tuesday night, she left a friend's place in Campbellford, about an hour's drive from Belleville. Unfamiliar with the region, she said she relied on her new Garmin GPS to get to her destination.

"That was the road it told me to take," she said. "I don't know the area at all, so I just thought it was okay, and apparently it was a swamp."

It was pounding rain on the country roads, and visibility was poor. At first, she thought she was driving through puddles, but then her 2003 Mazda Protegé 5 stopped moving. Then water started seeping in, rising to seat-level.

Stranded in a car that seemed like it might slowly sink, she called 911 at about 9:45 p.m. The dispatcher told her to climb onto the roof, where she waited for about 45 minutes in the rain.

It turned out she was in the Murray Marsh, a conservation area northwest of Trenton. Ontario Provincial Police officers and local firefighters had trouble finding her in the large, secluded park. They finally zeroed in on her location when the 911 dispatcher told her to honk the horn. Firefighters in flotation immersion suits spotted her car's headlights through the muck and used all-terrain vehicles to rescue her.

"I was really happy to see them. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to find me. I was in the middle of nowhere, right?"

She was checked by paramedics, but was uninjured. "She was just wet and cold and scared," said Chief John Whelan of the Quinte West Fire Department.

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The woman had followed a narrow trail into the middle of the marsh, and her car slid off the roadway, he said.

"It was pouring rain, it was foggy and miserable out and no streetlamps or anything out that way," Chief Whelan said. "She was following that GPS and probably couldn't see 500 metres in front of her."

Asked her opinion on GPS devices, the woman, who expects that her car is inoperable, laughed and said: "I don't like them anymore." She later looked up the site of her misfortune on Google Maps and, "it says that it's a road."

After she was rescued, the woman woke up her friends to let them know what had happened. "I told them that I sort of drowned."


  • Last Christmas, an American couple were stranded for three days when their SUV became stuck on a snowy road in an Oregon wildlife refuge thanks to a wrong turn recommended by their GPS.
  • In July, 2009, a Swedish couple on holiday in Italy misspelled their destination on a rental car's GPS. They were hoping to visit the island of Capri, but arrived instead in the town of Carpi, 660 kilometres to the north.
  • And in 2007, a British woman drove her $200,000 Mercedes into a river while following GPS directions to a christening. She was pulled from the car before it was swept away.
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