A tragic loss in North Dakota

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the three North Dakota college softball players whose bodies were found in their submerged Jeep Tuesday.

College athletes have a special bond, and like students at our own community college, Dickenson State College students have to make their own fun.

These three, Kyrstin Gemar, 22, of San Diego, Afton Williamson, 20, of Lake Elsinor, Calif., and Ashley Neufeld, 21, Brandon, Manitoba, were reportedly on a stargazing outing when they apparently drove into a farm pond.

Two of their friends received frantic, scratchy cell phone calls mentioning water just before the lines went dead.

Tragic as the deaths were, the cell phone calls at least gave searchers a clue, and ultimately led to the submerged Jeep, after authorities followed "pings" from the cellular towers that handled the girls' last calls.

The incident points up the need for full implementation of the e911 system that makes it possible to track people through their cell phones, which are all now required to include GPS components.

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