An Emergency Facebook Post Saved These American Travelers’ Lives

Michael Lythcott and Stacey Eno were travel buddies who took a trip to Bali, Indonesia. They were only there for a mere seven hours before tragedy struck. Traveling back to their hotel in the wee hours of the morning, things would take a turn for the worst. If it weren’t for Facebook, they might not have lived to tell this tale.

Mikey Lythcott Shared His World Travels With Friends On Facebook

Mikey Lythcott has made plenty of friends from his travels all over the world. The 36-year-old globetrotter lived as an ex-pat in Lisbon, Portugal, but kept in touch with his international buddies through social media.

Lythcott would often post pictures of exotic beaches and marketplaces, keeping friends up to date on every new country he checked off his bucket list.

But on a trip to Bali, Indonesia, Lythcott posted something that had all of his friends very worried.

Lythcott Made Plans With A Friend To Meet Up In Bali

Lythcott was an avid world traveler who had been to 54 different countries. On a visit to Thailand in February 2018, he met Stacey Eno, who lives in Gwangju, South Korea, where she is an English teacher. Lythcott and Eno made plans to link up again in Bali the following August.

It was a spontaneous opportunity to check off his 55th country, but little did Lythcott know he’d be fighting for his life just hours after he arrived.

Lythcott And Eno Decided To Explore Bali By Scooter

Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images
Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images

When Lythcott and Eno arrived in the town of Ubud on the island of Bali on August 22, 2018. They weren’t wrong in thinking that a neat way to explore Bali’s upland region was via scooter. So they rented one out, put on their helmets, and they were off.

At that point, they’d only spent a total of seven hours in Indonesia before things would literally take a turn for the worst.

A Van Passed Them As They Were Traveling Uphill

Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images
Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images

The pair’s scooter excursion took them up a hill. They must have been riding cautiously, albeit a little slower, because within that time a van passed them.

“After it passed, I could see a turn coming up. So I hit the brakes as normal, but the brakes didn’t slow the bike leaving us very little time to make a move and not enough time to negotiate a turn,” Lythcott would later recall to CNN.

Lythcott Didn’t Know Where He Was And Couldn’t See A Thing

Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With not enough time to turn, Lythcott and Eno rode right off the hill and into a ravine. When he eventually regained consciousness, Lythcott didn’t know where he was. He told CNNthat all he could see was the sky through the trees.

They were somewhere in a Bali forest, so it was incredibly dark. As he tried to orient himself, Lythcott realized that he had lost his helmet and his eyeglasses. He also couldn’t use his left wrist.

The crash left them disoriented, but luckily, something in Lythcott’s pocket would be their only saving grace.

Lythcott Realized He Was Injured And About To Fall

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

As Lythcott came to after the scooter accident, he realized just how seriously injured he was. “My back felt half broken. I couldn’t move and barely could pull myself up when I found a thick vine in the dark. Every move, I kept slipping,” he told CNN.

Lythcott said that he felt like he was on some sort of incline. But because he couldn’t see where he was, he didn’t know to where he might be slipping.

Eno Was Alive But In The Same Helpless Position As Lythcott

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Lythcott called out to Eno, who responded that she couldn’t move and that she felt like she was seriously injured as well. They were both immobile, lost, and helpless. Lythcott heard running water nearby and worried that the incline they were on would fall into a body of water.

If it was too deep, their injuries would probably prevent them from swimming out and they might drown. But if it was too shallow, they might just plummet to their death.

Lythcott Knew No One Saw Their Accident

Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images
Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images

Having lost his helmet, Lythcott likely suffered a serious head injury as well. “I then did think ‘I’m gonna die here,’ because no one knew we were here or went over and we were both hurt and for a minute I couldn’t even remember how we got there,” he recalled to CNN.

Unable to move somewhere in the dense forestry, they had no way of physically going back out to the road to signal passersby.

He Couldn’t Call Local Authorities, But He Found A Surprise In His Pocket

James Looker/Digital Camera Magazine via Getty Images
James Looker/Digital Camera Magazine via Getty Images

As he struggled to remember how he even got in the accident, Lythcott was at least conscious enough to attempt to do something. He had a cellular phone with a local SIM, but realized that he lost it in the crash.

Surprisingly though, he felt his American phone in his jacket pocket. Able to access it, he turned on its international roaming. He barely had a signal, but it was enough for him to do what he did next.

Lythcott Decided To Send Out An SOS On Facebook

“I got it and turned on international roaming and just barely got signal,” Lythcott told CNN. He decided to put out an SOS on Facebook. He put out a simple post that read, “Help. In danger. Call police.” After that, all he could do was wait.

Thankfully, he wouldn’t have to wait long. In this day and age, depending on how active you are on social media, your friends will notice if something is off.

It was up to Lythcott’s Facebook friends to save the day…

Friend Aimee Sparks Noticed The SOS Right Away

Ken Cedeno/Corbis via Getty Images
Ken Cedeno/Corbis via Getty Images

Aimee Sparks met Lythcott in Seattle back in 2004. The friends even traveled together to Nepal in 2014. She was one of the first people to see Lytchott’s SOS. “I saw Mikey’s post just a minute or two after it went up. I work remotely and tend to have Facebook open while I work. I saw it and of course was startled and a bit surprised,” she told CNN.

Sparks was certainly alarmed, but something seemed off.

Sparks Was Worried That Something Was Wrong

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Sparks at first wasn’t quite sure what to do. “I worried that he had been drugged or kidnapped or something,” she told CNN.

“I went on his FB page and was going to send him a message when I realized that there is a call option now, so I called him. I think I was the first person to actually talk to him.” Sparks confirmed that Lythcott was very much in grave danger.

Many Of His Friends Believed It Was A Scam

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

As more people saw Lythcott’s SOS, they too believed that something was up. “It was great that I talked to him because some people were worried that his phone had been stolen or that his account had been hacked. And I was able to say, I know his voice and I know it is him, that he is very badly injured and needs help,” Sparks told CNN.

Soon, those friends realized that the SOS was very real.

Lythcott Had Little Time To Communicate With The Outside World

Ian Waldie/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Ian Waldie/Getty Images News/Getty Images

For Lythcott to be able to post an SOS to Facebook and be able to talk to Sparks was incredibly lucky. Because of the situation he was in, communicating with the outside world was actually a struggle.

Since he couldn’t move his left wrist, he could only use his right hand to type on his phone. Worse yet, international roaming was beginning to take its toll on the phone and the battery was beginning to die.

Lythcott Dropped A Pin To Share His Approximate Location

Facebook
Facebook

With what little time he had, Lythcott was at least able to share his location with Sparks. “He said he didn’t know where he was, that he woke up in the woods. He was very disoriented. I asked him if he could send me a pin drop, which he did,” Sparks told CNN.

Thanks to Facebook’s location features, Lythcott was able to share his approximate location with Sparks because even he couldn’t say for sure where he was in Bali.

Lythcott was able to signal for help, but he had little time left before his phone battery and brain were giving out…

Lythcott’s Facebook Friends Banded Together To Rescue Him

With knowledge of Lythcott’s approximate location in Bali, Sparks was able to get more of his friends to help save him. A Vancouver friend had contacts in Indonesia to get the ball rolling on Lythcott’s rescue, while another friend in the Netherlands contacted the local Bali police.

Based on the location that Lythcott shared, one of his friends in Los Angeles was able to use online maps to see that he was indeed next to a waterfall.

Lythcott And Eno’s Rescue Became An International Effort

Thanks to a friend in Prague, they accessed the phone numbers of the Indonesian consulate. “A bunch of Mikey’s friends were posting phone numbers to call, and I got in touch with a woman named Christine at the consulate, I think.”

“She gave me her email and I sent her screenshots of Mikey’s location. I don’t want to think about what would have happened if he didn’t have his phone, or if his battery was dead,” Sparks told CNN.”

Lythcott Was Told That Help Was On The Way

All of Lythcott’s Facebook friends’ efforts really paid off. Just before his phone gave out, Lythcott was able to speak to Indonesian authorities.

“I got a call from a guy named Joe from the [consulate] who said help was coming but to help him find me. I told him there was a hotel near my GPS pin, that I’d be just before that hotel, then my battery died,” Lythcott recalled to CNN.

They Kept Slipping, So Lythcott Was Sure They Were Going To Die

Ben Davies/LightRocket via Getty Images
Ben Davies/LightRocket via Getty Images

A huge international rescue effort was going on. Meanwhile, Lythcott and Eno were still holding on for dear life. All they could do was have faith that the rescue mission was real, but they were steadily slipping into the ravine. Even worse, after his phone died, Lythcott began losing consciousness.

Despite that, he kept assuring Eno that help was on its way. “I really though we would die so I wanted to comfort her,” Lythcott told CNN.

Help Arrived By The Next Morning After What Felt Like Hours

FAIZ ABDILLAH/AFP/Getty Images
FAIZ ABDILLAH/AFP/Getty Images

Lythcott recalled that it must have been three or four hours before help finally arrived. When they heard people on the road, they mustered up what little energy they had left to call out for help. The rescue party had arrived and successfully pulled Lythcott and Eno out of the ravine.

They must have been down there for a long time because it was morning when they finally made it out. In the full light of day, they could finally assess the damage.

Lythcott And Eno Fell Pretty Far And Were Near Death

Intelligence staff at Gianyar Regency
Intelligence staff at Gianyar Regency

After they were pulled out of the ravine, Lythcott told CNN, “It was the first time seeing how far we went down. It was far.” Lythcott and Eno were seriously in bad shape. The rescue party put them on the back of a flatbed truck and took them to a local hospital.

X-rays indicated that their condition was far worse than the hospital could handle. So they were transferred to a facility with more advanced equipment.

They may have been rescued, but Lythcott and Eno soon had a bigger challenge to overcome…

Lythcott Had Surgery To Mend A Skull Fracture And Broken Wrist

Lythcott and Eno were transferred to the BIMC Hospital in the Bali resort town of Kuta, where they underwent life-saving surgeries. Lythcott suffered a skull fracture, a broken wrist, cracked ribs and spine, as well as internal damage and perforated bowels.

He had to have surgery on his skull, wrist, and abdomen and even had to have chest tubes inserted to inflate his lungs. He had to stay in the hospital until September 3, 2018.

Eno Broke Her Wrist Too, But Seriously Injured Her Face

Stacey Eno/Facebook
Stacey Eno/Facebook

As for Eno, she seriously fractured her cheekbones, nose, and her left wrist. Something apparently also split her tongue during the accident. Because her injuries weren’t as grave as Lythcott’s she was released from the hospital earlier and was able to return to her home in Korea.

Lythcott’s sister flew out to see him and after he was released from the hospital, they stayed at a nearby hotel until he was well enough to return to her home outside of Atlanta.

Eno Says The “Wild Ride” Won’t Stop Her From Traveling

Eno looks back on her trip to Bali as a “wild ride.” She told CNNthat the accident won’t keep her from exploring the world. “This guy’s trip to Indonesia to meet me spontaneously meant his 55th country! He truly inspires me. I know travel is scary and risky sometimes, but there is no way either of us will stop.” she said.

Some people would be scared off traveling for quite some time, but not Eno and Lythcott.

They Are Both Still Dealing With The Shock

Lythcott and Eno are likely to suffer shock for quite some time after surviving a near-death experience. “I was talking with Mike on Wednesday. That was our two-week anniversary [of the crash], and we were both so in shock from it all, like it actually happened.”

“We’re both still shaken, that we would have died without technology. Both of us are thinking there’s reason we’re both alive,” Eno told Inc.on September 10, 2018.

They’re Very Aware That Facebook Is The Real Hero

Lythcott also told Inc., “Facebook didn’t ‘kind of’ save our lives. It’s directly responsible. I knew if I put out a scary message, [my friends] would help find me. And I was scared. I honestly thought we were going to die.”

Lythcott is grateful for his 2,600-plus Facebook friends. He knew that there would be at least one person in the mix that would take him seriously. Miraculously, dozens of them came out of the woodwork.

Friends Made During Travel Turned Out To Be Blessings

Eno realized the value of the friendships they made during their travels. “When traveling you meet so many people with interesting and outstanding things to share. This tragic accident has shown us and reminded how many people we have touched along the way,” Eno told CNN.

It was a blessing that Lythcott had so many Facebook friends who were online at the time. If this had happened to someone who doesn’t have much of a following on social media, they might not have been so lucky.

Technology Saved The Day, Otherwise They Might Have Died

“Without technology and friends we would have not survived. Without the people we met along our adventures we would be much deeper in trouble and less of this magic you give,” Eno also told CNN.

Had this happened in a past era, it would have taken a true miracle for Lythcott and Eno to find help. It’s a miracle in itself that Lythcott’s American phone was in his pocket and he was able to use it!

Eno And Lythcott Now Have A New Challenge To Face

From Korea, Eno tells reporters that it would take several months for her injuries to heal up. She also said that she planned on returning to her home in Michigan once her English teaching contract is up. This is because she faces the new challenge of having to pay for some incredibly expensive medical bills.

As a result, her family has started a Go Fund Me page, where they’ve raised more than $13,000 as of September 13, 2018.

The Medical Expenses Added Up Quickly

Eno’s medical expenses amounted to $30,000, while Lythcott’s was twice that. The surgery on his wrist alone reportedly cost $9,000 up front, not to mention the fact that he also had to pay $550 for every night he stayed in the hospital.

Thankfully, Lythcott had already proven that he had an amazing group of friends, so it’s no surprise that he was able to raise over half of the $60,000 goal to cover his medical bills.