Lost in the cellphone vortex: 'A lot of the 911 calls will go south'

      EUGENE, Ore. - When Eugene Lanz got lost in the woods earlier this week, he called 911 for help.

      But his cell phone pinged to the Cavitt Creek area, about 26 air miles away from his actual location.

      John Miller with Lane County Search and Rescue said this is a regular problem with cellular service in eastern Lane County.

      "There's kind of a vortex. I'll call it a cellphone vortex," Miller said. "A lot of the 911 calls will go south into Douglas County. A lot of times they'll actually miss closer towers and they'll go to further towers."

      Just one more reason Miller says you cannot rely on your cell phone to get you out of trouble in the wilds of Oregon.

      If you do end up losing your way, it could cost you.

      "There is a law that says we can collect up to $500 for out of pocket costs per incident," Miller said.

      The free is rarely enforced because they don't want to discourage people from calling for help, Miller said.

      "The caveat to that is that if someone does something really stupid," he added. "I would probably go out of my way to bill them for it."