In February 2011, Queensland, Australia was hit by Cyclone Yasi whose resulting floods devastated many towns and submerged roads and homes. With streets and landmarks under water, Queensland helicopter pilot Mark Kempton and his team faced the gloomy prospect of being unable to identify and rescue stranded Aussies. Armed with his mobile phone, Mark turned to Google Maps to navigate the area and locate people in distress. He and his team worked around the clock throughout the crisis and rescued 43 people from rooftops and treetops in the town of Grantham.

At Google, we’re constantly inspired by our users and honored that our products can play a small part in helping them achieve the extraordinary. Yesterday, Mark Kempton was recognised with the 2011 Pride of Australia Award for Heroism. Congratulations, Mark!

Here is Mark’s search story: