On June 30, 2008 during a summer backpacking trip in California’s Kings Canyon National Park, 52 year old George from Palo Alto, found himself suffering from acute abdominal pains on day ten of the two hundred and twenty three mile hike along the John Muir Wilderness Trail while setting up camp at 7:30 pm. Hours later, at approximately after 11:00 pm, George’s pain worsened which led him to end his trek early, and initiate an emergency alert with his SPOT Satellite Messenger.
The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a personal safety device which enables users to communicate via satellite technology from remote locations around the globe and initiate Check-in and emergency response calls independently of cellular networks.
“My friend and I were enjoying a great trip when I began experiencing an intense, pain in my stomach near Safire Lake as we setting up camp for the night,” said George, an experienced backpacker. “I knew something was very wrong but being so far removed from any help at 10,800’ elevation and deep in the backcountry I had no choice but put my faith in the SPOT Satellite Messenger, which I recently purchased for checking in with my family during his expeditions, press the 9-1-1 button and wait for help.”
The GEOS international response center received the message from George’s SPOT unit shortly after 11:15pm and relayed the information to the Kings Canyon Ranger Center. Due to darkness and the ruggedness of the terrain where George was located, the Ranger had to wait until day break before he hiked to George’s location to assess the situation.
According to rescue officials, when they reached George, his pain was severe and there was no way for him to make it off of the mountain on his own. That was when they notified for a helicopter for an evacuation.
George was flown to the Community Medical Centers in Fresno and underwent immediate surgery for a perforated intestine, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. He was released from the hospital a few days later.
George added, “Thanks to SPOT and the team at GEOS, the appropriate rescue authorities were notified of my exact location and due to their quick responsiveness and accuracy. I’m alive today to tell my story.”
The National Association of Search and Rescue estimates there are over 50,000 search and rescue missions launched each year in the United States alone. Most of these are initiated without knowledge of the victims’ location. The SPOT Satellite Messenger gives users a way to alert responders of their GPS location independently of cellular coverage. SPOT enables users, to send their location and message to friends, family, or emergency responders, and to visually track the location of the SPOT satellite messenger through four simple functions: