A man was rescued in the Scottish Highlands after his SPOT distress signal was picked up thousands of miles away in Houston, Texas.
Every Sunday, the man, in his mid-70s, would let his friends and family know he was okay by pressing the 'Check-in' button on his SPOT device. However, on one particular Sunday, he triggered the SOS alert where it was picked up by the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) in Houston, over 4,500 miles away.
The IERCC notified HM Coastguard Mission Control Centre (MCC) in Fareham, Hampshire. They sent the Prestwick Coastguard helicopter to the man's remote Scottish cabin to check if he was OK. When the coastguard winchman got to the man's cabin near Fort William, he was extremely ill and needed urgent medical assistance. Therefore, the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was called in.
They helped to move the man from his home so he could be taken to hospital by ambulance. Neil Blewett, UK aeronautical operations centre controller for HM Coastguard, said: "When the man activated his beacon the signal went via satellite to Houston, which then gets sent to our MCC
SPOT Gen 3 Tracker
The range of SPOT satellite communicators include the SPOT Gen 3 and SPOT X tracker, the newest tracker from SPOT. Fortunately, both devices have SOS buttons that are easily accessible. In emergency situations, the SPOT user only has to lift the SOS safety flap and press the red SOS button, to activate their SOS alert. Both devices also offer the 'Check-in' alert, so family and friends can be kept up-to-date and know that you are OK. Additionally, there is a custom messaging option for users. The custom messaging must be pre-set for the SPOT Gen 3 tracker. However, the SPOT X offers users the opportunity to create custom messages in real-time with the QWERTY keyboard.
SPOT X Tracker
Therefore, these devices are vital for peace of mind for your family and friends. Moreover, they also can be necessary for calling for assistance when an emergency situation arises. Although, the SOS process might seem a a very long way round for an alert to reach us, Neil Blewett observed: "This is actually very quick thanks to the satellite technology that we use.
"In this case, the man's activation of his beacon, the satellites, and the SPOT beacon itself saved his life because without any of those we would not have known he needed urgent help.
"We have since heard that the man is doing well and we wish him a speedy recovery so that he can return home as soon as possible."