Motorists

What are you going to believe, Apple Maps or your lying eyes?

December 10, 2012: 1:39 PM ET

Australian police warn drivers that relying on the iPhone's app can be "life threatening"

Purple pin shows actual location of

Purple pin shows Mildura's actual location

FORTUNE -- Driving to the rural city of Mildura (pop. 30,000) from downtown Melbourne is a long trek in the best of circumstances -- six or seven hours depending on traffic.

But the trip can be a nightmare for travelers using the Map app that comes installed in Apple's (AAPL) newest iPhones.

The app shows Mildura about 70 km (45 miles) southwest of its actual location -- placing it in the middle of the Murray-Sunset National Park, where temperature can reach as high as 46 C (115 F) and cellular phone coverage is nil.

Local police have already had to rescue at least four motorists, one of whom was stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water. Others had walked long distances through dangerous terrain to find phone reception, according to police.

Australian authorities are calling the situation "potentially life threatening" and warning drivers with iPhones to rely on some other form of navigation -- Google Maps, for example -- until Apple does something about the problem.

UPDATE: By Monday afternoon, the error had been corrected, according to The Guardian. Apple's Map app now points to the center of Mildura.

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