An Atlanta native injured in an Indonesian scooter accident says social media saved his life.
“We were riding our scooter back to our hotel,” he said. “It was our first night in Bali.”
The Chamblee native, who now lives in New York, told Petchenik he swerved to avoid an oncoming truck and rode the scooter off an embankment into a ravine.
“Next memory I have is waking up at sometime afterwards,” he said. “My glasses had gone flying.”
Lythcott said he typically carries two phones with him, including his American iPhone, and he realized he had that phone in his pocket.
“My left arm at the wrist was broken. I couldn’t move,” he said. “Somehow I reached into my pocket and realized my American iPhone was still there.”
He was able to turn the phone on and get a signal.
“I turned on the American roaming data, got a signal and put a note on Facebook that basically said, ‘Need help, call police,’” he said.
Within minutes, dozens of people had written back and some starting calling him through WhatsApp.
“I sent my location to people who called me,” he said. “At this point I’m conscious that my battery is draining pretty fast.”
One friend was able to reach someone at the U.S. Embassy and put them in touch with Lythcott.
“At some point when I was on the phone with the guy from the state department, the battery went to zero percent and died,” he said.
But using GPS location from Facebook and WhatsApp, eventually rescuers zeroed in on the pair’s location.
“We started hearing voices, people coming. We yelled out, 'Help!'” he said. “I mean, both my lungs were collapsed ... I was able to yell as hard as I could.”
Lythcott and his friend are now recovering in a hospital.
“I have a broken left wrist, which they set in place,” he said. “Both of my lungs collapsed. I had a hematoma on my liver.”
Halfway across the world, Lythcott’s sister, Zuri Taylor, told Petchenik she started seeing the Facebook posts.
“My first thought was that he’d been abducted and was just sending out clandestine messages,” she said.
Once Taylor was able to confirm her brother was in the hospital, she said she was relieved.
“I was able to call, confirm that he was there, confirm that he was alive,” she said.
The Jonesboro resident hopped on a plane and is now with her brother as he recovers.
“It was just a big relief to know he was safe and that he was going to be able to get some care,” she said.
Now it’s just a healing game and waiting on the doctors to give him the all-clear to get up and start moving.”
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