Three teenage boys’ lives were saved after falling into freezing quicksand at a quarry.
The boys were up to their waists and sinking further when one managed to call 999 on his mobile.
He was directed from the control room how to download the What3Words app to his phone.
The app was used to pinpoint the boys’ exact location in the pitch black.
Within minutes four police officers arrived at the quarry in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire.
PC Andy Crosby said: “Thanks to some great work by the control room team we were soon able to locate the boys in the dark using the What3Words app.
“That helped us get close enough to them to hear their shouts for help.
“None of them was appropriately dressed for the conditions and they’d already been stuck in the mud for around 45 minutes by the time we reached them.
“The weather was terrible, and we could see they were losing colour in their faces and were starting to panic.
“Every time they moved they sunk deeper into the sand.
“We knew we had to get them out as quickly as possible and were able to identify an area of harder ground nearby we could get to on foot.
“Using a rope from the back of our van we were supported by two members of the public to haul the boys out one by one.
“I’ve been a police officer for the last 18 years but had never dealt with a situation like this.
“Given the weather conditions that night I all three could have died if we’d not been able to find them.
“I really hope they realise how serious this incident was and what could have happened if they’d been unable to raise the alarm.”
The boys were treated at the scene by paramedics.
One was taken to hospital as a precaution.
None was injured during the incident shortly after 6.30pm on Saturday evening.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service also attended the scene with specialist rescue equipment.
Group Manager Matt Reavill said:
“A mud rescue is a specialist incident type, requiring specialist equipment.
“That means that although the incident was in Mansfield, specialist teams had to be brought in from Newark and Highfields.
“Avoidable incidents such as this take away resources from other potential incidents.
“While it was a happy ending and we are pleased the boys are ok, they shouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place.
“I would like to urge anyone to take this as a lesson to download the What3Words app which will help us locate you in an emergency, quickly and efficiently. “
Superintendent Kevin Broadhead said:
“This was a great bit of work by officers and control room staff.
“Presented with a difficult and evolving scene they all displayed a great deal of bravery and initiative to help bring this incident to a safe conclusion.”