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Google Maps ‘told me to walk across frozen river’ says cold and wet dude

Remember as a child when your mum would ask “would you jump off a cliff if *insert bad influence mate’s name* did it too?”

We’re reminded of the old adage tonight given news from Minnesota of a man who continued to listen to Google Maps even when it allegedly directed him to walk across a frozen river.

The man had to be pulled to safety by the Minneapolis Fire Department and was treated for mild hypothermia after falling through the ice on the Mississippi River. The unnamed man told the firefighters at the scene that Google Maps had told him to cross the river while en route his hotel, on foot.

“The incident happened around 3 a.m. near the Stone Arch Bridge where the man was partially submerged,” a report from WCCO Minneapolis over the weekend says. The fact the incident occurred at 3am might raise a few eyebrows, but we couldn’t possibly comment.

Thankfully, and perhaps fortunately, the man lived to tell the tale, but he is unlikely to be taking walking prompts from Google any time soon. Google hasn’t commented on the report, but we’ve contacted the Google Maps team in hopes of a response.

The incident somewhat reminded us of the Apple Maps debacle of 2013, when its fledgling Maps app directed some drivers onto an Alaskan airport’s taxiway, leading them across the runway. Fairbanks International Airport has complained to Apple via the local attorney general’s office, asking the Cupertino company to remove the directions from the app.

“We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this”, said Melissa Osborn, Chief of Operations at the airport at the time.

The airport had to erect a barricade across the final stretch of the runway to stop further motorists venturing into the path of oncoming vehicles.

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