SPOT Satellite Messenger Sends Distress Message and GPS Location of Remote Workers to Emergency Responders; Stranded Snowmobilers Brought to Safety
February 5, 2008 – SPOT Rescue Alert (SRA) - Two stranded snowmobilers were rescued from a remote location outside of Grand Junction, Co. on Tuesday night after pressing 9-1-1 on their SPOT™ Satellite Messengers. Will Eisemann and Mike Kelley of Grand Junction, Colorado were riding back from servicing a communication tower at 8,500’ 500 feet in a remote area when they got drawn off course due to white-out snow conditions with nightfall setting.
“The weather was terrible – 60 mile per hour winds and snow in every direction – and we were stuck in 5 feet of snow,” said Will Eisemann, a contract worker of the Grand Junction Communications Center. “With temperatures dropping, high winds, no moon and nightfall fast approaching, we knew that we were in trouble and we both pressed the
9-1-1 buttons on our SPOT units,”
After one of their snowmobiles got stuck in deep snow, the two men had contacted the Mesa County Sheriff’s office by cell phone. When they continued down the mountain on the second snowmobile they lost all cellular coverage before getting stuck again. That’s when they pressed the 911 buttons on their SPOT devices, sending their GPS location information and distress message.
While Mesa county Search and Rescue were preparing to deploy a search party based on their cell phone call, they received a 9-1-1 call from the GEOS International Emergency Response Center in Houston used by SPOT. GEOS relayed the GPS location coordinates of the two stranded snowmobilers and the men were located and rescued 45 minutes later, 500 feet from Divide Rd.
“Without SPOT, the search for us could have gone on all night, in blizzard conditions. With SPOT, Mesa County Search and Rescue tracked our GPS coordinates that were updated every 5 minutes and knew exactly where to find us even after we moved 30 yards to build a snow shelter,” added Kelley. “Only because of SPOT were we able to be located and rescued that quickly.”