According to local media, it all happened on January 19, when the driver somehow entered the water at Westgate. Obviously, he got stuck and was no longer able to reach the shore. After screaming for help, local residents heard the man and called the emergency services, which used special equipment to get him out of the water. Not the van though, as it just had to stay in the water until a dedicated vehicle was found to tow it.
Local authorities blame navigation apps for sending drivers to such dangerous routes, explaining there’s a bridge only a few hundred meters away from the point the van ended up in the river. Needless to say, said bridge allows anyone to safely cross the water.
“Clearly we will have to look at new warning signs to stop this happening again, and I have asked for this to be looked at as a matter of urgency. Not only was the life of the delivery driver put at risk, but that of the emergency services, and I applaud them for their efforts on that evening. The only blame is that of technology, and satellite navigation systems in vehicles,” Durham County Councillor for Weardale, John Shuttleworth, was quoted as saying.
The name of the navigation app the driver was using was not disclosed, though it’s probably not that hard to guess the man was most likely relying on Waze, Google Maps, or Apple Maps to find the address he was looking for.
Not a long time ago, two young Russians ended up on an abandoned road after following a route suggested by Google Maps. The outcome was far less fortunate, as the driver eventually froze to death in cold weather.