Saving Grace

Thirty six stranded British tourists were rescued in Sri Lanka thanks to a mobile phone with one of them and technology that could pin-point the user, an official involved in the rescue told AFP Thirty six stranded British tourists were rescued in Sri Lanka thanks to a mobile phone with one of them and technology that could pin-point the user, an official involved in the rescue told AFP The Britons were picked up from the southern beach resort of Hikkaduwa where they were stranded after the tsunami lashed three-quarters of the island’s coastline, killing nearly 13,000 people.

A private initiative involving all phone companies here began monitoring mobile phones with international roaming and traced the call patterns to figure out the location of the phone users.

“There were 10,252 international roaming phones working on Sri Lankan networks at the time of the tragedy,” Chris Dharmakirti, who is heading the Tidal Wave Rescue Centre said. “We sent everyone an sms and got responses from 2,321.

He said 5,983 roaming phones had gone dead since the disaster while 4,269 phones had been used to make at least one call after the tragedy.

“Whenever anyone used the phone, we co