Rescuers Locate Injured Man Using GPS Coordinates and Airlift Him to Nearby Hospital
September 23, 2008 – SPOT Rescue Alert (SRA): On August 22, 2008 experienced hiker and Canadian oil analyst Michael Ervin, set off to enjoy a backcountry wilderness trip to the base of Mount Assiniboine, one of the highest and most distinctive peaks in the Canadian Rockies outside of Banff. A bad fall under the weight of his forty-five pound backpack left Mr. Ervin with a ruptured quadriceps tendon to his knee, unable to put any weight on his leg and 10 kilometers from the nearest road with no cell phone coverage.
“I heard a loud snap from my leg and could see my knee cap hanging loose, lower than usual,” said Michael Ervin, President of fuel-analysis firm MJ Ervin & Associates of Calgary. “I was experiencing shock and knew I was unable to walk. I needed real help and pressed the 9-1-1 button on my SPOT Satellite Messenger to notify emergency responders of my GPS location coordinates.”
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.
Banff National Parks, which maintains a 24/7 rescue office, immediately dispatched a local Parks helicopter to Mr. Ervin’s exact location. He was flown to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital and underwent surgery the next day.
“As a pilot, I learned about SPOT through my membership with COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) and purchased the device because it was more affordable than other PLBs and due to its GPS location capability SPOT is far more reliable than the 121.5 ELT,” added Mr. Ervin. “Because it’s small and lightweight, I take SPOT with me on my backpacking trips to stay connected with my family and friends at home. This time, it proved vital in getting me the quick medical attention that I needed.”
Mr. Ervin is no stranger to this wilderness area. This was his third attempt of reaching the base of Mount Assiniboine by foot along the 29 Kilometer Citadel Pass Trail. His previous attempts were never completed due to a forest fire one year and inclement weather brought on by an early winter storm during a later attempt.
“This is but a speed bump on the highway of life, and after I have completed my recovery in the next few months I will try to make it back to Mount Assiniboine.”