Dale, a retired community college administrator and instructor, is an avid hiker, backpacker and cyclist. At the age of 67, he now spends most of his free time hiking through the backcountry of Oregon and California alone and with fellow backpackers.
Like many hikers, Dale often worried about connectivity during his travels. This is why SPOT piqued his interest when reading one of his favorite magazines. Soon after, Dale visited REI to purchase his first SPOT device. In celebration of Memorial Day, Dale and 7 other hikers ranging from ages 51 to 74 decided to take a five day trip to Mattole Beach Campground near Petrolia, California. This time, he made sure to add his new SPOT Gen 3™ as a "must bring" item.
As they set out, the crew planned to hike eight miles, in hopes to arrive at Black Sand Beach before dawn. As anticipated, they encountered deep, wet, sandy grounds, but were not expecting the costal winds they faced along the way. "We hiked like drunken sailors, unable to walk a straight line", Dale explained. As if the surface could not get any worse, a beach of steep boulders took over the sandy grounds. His fellow hiker John was not wearing proper footwear and took a bad fall while attempting to cross a creek. "I knew I was done for from the moment it happened. I knew I would not be walking another step," John stated.
After much deliberation, they decided to use Dale's SPOT and summon for help. At 3:30 p.m., Dale activated the S.O.S. feature on his SPOT device and the group began to watch for a helicopter. Within minutes, GEOS contacted Dale's wife, Gwen, who was listed as an emergency contact. GEOS also contacted the California Office of Emergency Services, who then requested help from the Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay. The Coast Guard arrived on scene via helicopter at 5:54 p.m. John was then taken to the nearest hospital, where he was told he had a severely sprained ankle.
Both Dale and John were extremely pleased with GEOS' response and the assistance they received from the Coast Guard. When asked for his thoughts about the SPOT device, John stated, "The technology works and I think it would be a good tool for anybody in these situations or even worse situations than I was in". Dale says his SPOT provides him with a new sense of security and assurance that he will be able to communicate with his family in case he needs assistance, as well as send his coordinates to GEOS during a life-threatening emergency.
Rescue Profile: Bill and Andreas
Case #: 12629
Bill Peschka, a Tour Divide Veteran, was cycling in Wyoming as part of an ultra-distance mountain bike race following the Continental Divide from Banff Canada to the Mexican border at Antelope Wells, NM.
One June afternoon, Peschka was cycling in Sweetwater County where he stumbled upon Andreas Fassbender, a German cyclist heading north to Canada. Fassbender had been catapulted off his bike after hitting a patch of deep sand with the front wheel. Fassbender had been lying on the ground waiting for 2 hours as he was unable to connect to local authorities due to lack of cellular coverage. Luckily for Fassbender, Peschka had his SPOT handy.
The SOS was pushed and within 30 minutes, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office had arrived on the scene and was looking for SPOT Owner, Peschka by name. Two ambulances had been dispatched because they were unsure of the road conditions and wanted to get quickly to Fassbender’s aide. They loaded Fassbender into the ambulance and off they went.