May 2008 - Technology triumphed over adversity in the great outdoors when an outdoor adventurer was rescued from a remote Scottish highland after using SPOT, the World’s first satellite messenger system, to alert emergency services.
Niels Vinther, was rescued after he sent a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) message to a SPOT emergency call centre from his location in Glen Etive, 15 miles south of Fort William in Scotland. The Danish man, who currently lives in Sunderland, had pressed the emergency button when he became incapacitated with acute abdominal pain whilst attempting a coast-to-coast trek across Scotland.
This is the first documented rescue initiated by SPOT in Europe after its release just two months ago. “I only bought SPOT last month and already it has proven to be an extremely useful purchase,” said Niels. “From now on, I will never go on an adventure without it.”
Niels, who is Managing Director of pump makers Grundfos, was participating in an annual national walking challenge when the incident occurred. Suffering from excruciating stomach pains, he found himself without a phone signal and alone in the wilderness. Luckily, Niels had his SPOT device at hand and pressed the 911 button.
His emergency message was passed from the GEOS Emergency Response Centre to Fort William Police Station who immediately contacted the RAF Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at Kinloss, Moray. The RAF team, who coordinate the UK’s search and rescue helicopters, scrambled a Royal Navy Sea King from Prestwick, Ayrshire to rescue the Danish challenger.
A representative of RAF Kinloss commented: “SPOT dramatically cut down the amount of time it took to rescue the gentleman, as we were called in straight away and were able to pinpoint his exact location.”
Niels is now fully recovered and actually returned to Scotland later to finish complete the walking Challenge. “With SPOT at my disposal I feel confident when getting back out into the great outdoors. I am able to keep friends and family in the loop, adding to my peace of mind. Also, the device will be great if I find others in need of assistance, who may not have such a handy device at their disposal,” said Niels.