Apple’s Emergency SOS feature recently played a crucial role in the rescue of two women who were stranded in British Columbia, Canada. The incident, which occurred on December 23, may have been the first time the feature has been used for rescue in the area.
The women were traveling back to Alberta when they came across a closed highway due to an accident. They decided to take an alternative route through the Holmes Forest Service Road, but the road was only partially plowed. The women got stuck in the snow and were unable to move their vehicle. They were about 12 miles down the road and out of cell service range.
One of the women had an iPhone 14, which has a safety feature that allows users to contact emergency services using a satellite connection. She activated the Emergency SOS feature, which sent a signal to the nearest rescue team. Dwight Yochim, Senior Manager with BC Search and Rescue, explained that this was the first use of the SOS feature in British Columbia.
The rescue team used the GPS location provided by the phone to form a strategy and find the women. Yochim stated that without Emergency SOS, it may have taken the team over a week to find the women. He also said that the feature potentially saved the women’s lives.
This is not the first time that Emergency SOS has played a crucial role in saving lives. In December, a man in a remote part of Alaska was rescued using the feature, and in April, a snowboarder in Switzerland was rescued after falling into a hidden crevasse.
BC Search and Rescue has been in contact with Apple and will conduct webinars for SAR managers and grassroots team leaders to ensure everyone knows how to use the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature.