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Alaska: stranded in the cold, without a network, a man found thanks to the emergency SOS by satellite of his iPhone


This is the first public case of rescue using the iPhone 14’s Satellite Emergency SOS feature. A man lost in the cold in Alaska was found after alerting authorities using his smartphone. The functionality already existed on dedicated sports devices, but the implementation on a phone is a first.

Rescuers impressed

“Alaska Department of Public Safety troops have been notified that an adult male traveling by snowmobile from Noorvik to Kotzebue activated an emergency SOS via satellite on his iPhone after becoming stranded”Alaska state authorities reported in a statement, this Thursday, December 1st. After coordination between local search and rescue teams, the Apple Emergency Response Center, four volunteer crew members were dispatched to search for the man.

The only means at their disposal to find the castaway in the snow: the GPS coordinates of the iPhone 14, at the origin of the SOS. In a few hours, the rescuers managed to find him. Unharmed, the man was transported to the town of Kotzebue. The team members were “impressed with the accuracy and completeness of the information included in the initial alert”ensures the specialized site MacRumors.

A function soon available in France

This operation is a success, especially since the user was in an area where satellite connectivity is less good. Apple indicated that the satellite emergency SOS function could experience difficulties above 62° latitude in the world. However, the emergency call was made from a point close to 69°. The feature is available to all iPhone 14, 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max users. It is triggered when no mobile network is detected during a call to 911 (emergency number in the United States).

This possibility is not new. Devices from Garmin’s inReach range include emergency calls via the IERCC, the International Emergency Response Coordination Center. Satellite coverage is provided by the operator Iridium and covers a large part of the planet. For several years, GPS tracking and emergency devices using the satellite network have been multiplying. However, the arrival on a smartphone of such a service is a great first.

The iPhone 14’s emergency satellite SOS function is expected to arrive in December 2022 in Europe.

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