HomeOutdoorsNewsStranded Alaska Snowmobiler Uses iPhone Emergency Service To Alert Rescuers

Stranded Alaska Snowmobiler Uses iPhone Emergency Service To Alert Rescuers

by Amy Myers
Photo by Jean-Erick PASQUIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

If you needed a reminder to always have a method of communication when heading outdoors, here it is: An iPhone emergency alert service helped rescue an Alaska-based snowmobiler in distress.

According to Alaska’s Department of Public Safety, the tech responsible for the crucial alert was Apple’s iPhone Emergency SOS satellite-based system. Last Thursday, state troopers received a notification regarding a stranded man at around 2 a.m. The unnamed victim was snowmobiling between rural Noorvik and the coastal town of Kotzebue (about 45 miles apart) when he became lost. Once he realized his dangerous situation, the man activated the alert system, sending emergency personnel his coordinates through the Apple Emergency Response Center.

Thanks to the notification,  the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue volunteers were able to reach the snowmobiler quickly and escort him out of the area. They reported that he sustained no injuries during the predicament.

The iPhone 14 became available only weeks ago, and along with it the new SOS system. Because of the relative novelty of the feature, tech experts have deemed this rescue the first of its kind.

Some similar satellite-based systems for outdoor recreators include devices like the Garmin inReach, SPOT Satellite GPS, ACR Bivy Stick and ZOLEO Satellite Communicator.

Outsider reminds adventurers to always carry a reliable source of communication when heading out to remote areas.

Hiker in Alaska National Park Requires Airlift Following Severe Leg Injury

Earlier this year, a hiker in one of Alaska’s national parks, Kenai Fjord, suffered a much worse fate. The hiker sustained a significant lower leg injury approximately two miles up the Harding Icefield Trail that required an aerial evac.

Park rangers responded to the incident location while the Alaska State Troopers surveyed the area for a landing zone and requested helicopter assistance,” the park reported this summer. “Bear Creek Fire Department provided further medical care and packaged the patient into a litter for transport. All responding agencies then carried the patient up the trail approximately a quarter mile to the helicopter landing zone.”

Even after the sun had set and weather conditions worsened, rescue teams were still able to land the chopper and evacuate the victim to a nearby hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injuries. Following the rescue, Kenai Fjords National Park reminded Alaska visitors to do their homework before embarking on an especially strenuous route.

“Park rangers remind visitors that the Harding Icefield Trail is a strenuous mountain route that gains approximately 1000 feet of elevation per mile. It is crucially important that all hikers carefully consider the challenges and hazards inherent to this route and choose less exposed trails during periods of inclement weather,” the park informed. “Park rangers also recommend that hikers plan ahead and prepare for changing conditions by bringing warm clothes, rain gear, sturdy footwear, sunglasses, sunscreen, and at least two liters of water per person.”