On Sunday, June 4, SpaceX Starlink served as a tech lifeline to a family who lost a child at the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. They noticed Shunghla Mashwani, a 10 year old girl, was missing from their family gathering. Around 20 people started to look for her in the remote area for 2 hours. They tried to contact 911 to request help but no one in the group had cell phone signal to make the urgent call. A good samaritan that was driving a UTV all-terrain vehicle saw the group panicking and stopped to ask the family what was going on. They then offered the family to call police from their cabin which is equipped with SpaceX Starlink satellite service.
The parents were able to call the local authorities through the Starlink satellite internet network that can be connected to any device wirelessly. SpaceX operates a constellation of around 4,200 Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit that beam data to user terminals on the ground, even in some of the world's most remote places. Once again, the network proves to be reliable in a remote area where other forms of communication were unreliable. After the parents made the call, they were able to request help that led to finding the girl.
In a TV news report (video linked below), the girl was interviewed and shared that she was trying to find her dog that ran away and suddenly got stranded in the woods. She slept between two trees at night and says she heard the rescue team helicopter broadcast a message of her father's voice saying that they were working to find her. The sheriff's office paired with Kittitas County Search & Rescue (KCSR) volunteers and launched a massive search to find the missing girl in the wilderness. They found her a bit over 24 hours later on Monday, June 5 at 3 p.m. Authorities said she had gone about 1.5 miles from where she was last seen and was found healthy.
"The search area was steep, rugged, and remote, with dense trees and undergrowth cut through by the fast-running Cle Elum River," the sheriff's office said in a press release. "[...] At approximately 3:00 pm on Monday, two KCSR Ground Team volunteers, John Sand and Liz Pachaud, found Shunghla alive, with only minor scrapes. She had travelled south about 1.5 miles from where she was last seen, down the west side of the river. Snohomish County Swiftwater personnel used an inflatable rescue watercraft to bring her safely to the east side of the river where she was reunited with her father," they shared. "The Mashwani family came to the U.S. from Afghanistan only two year[s] ago and told searchers they like to spend time in the high backcountry because it reminds them of home. Shunghla told her family and rescuers she found herself suddenly separated and alone when the family was travelling back toward the footbridge and couldn’t find the bridge on her own. She hiked downstream through the dense forest and spent the cold night between some trees. She said she knew it was the right thing to follow the river. She proved an extraordinarily resourceful and resilient 10-year-old. The Sheriff’s Office is deeply thankful for both the result of this search and the tremendous outpouring of assistance and resources that made it possible. If you want to contribute to and support results like this, please consider volunteering with or donating to your county’s Search and Rescue organization," the sheriff's department shared.
VIDEO: TV News Interview of 10-year-old recalling being lost in the wilderness
Featured Image Source: Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook
》 Author's note: Write your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.