“The first use of the SOS in British Columbia”
Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature has been credited for saving the lives of two women who were stranded in the wilderness of British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada.
A report from the Times Colonist stated that on December 23, two women got lost on a return trip to Alberta when a closed highway gave them no other choice but to take a detour through a service road.
They attempted to pass a partially plowed road, but came to a standstill when they saw a wall of snow and to make things worse, they have no idea where they were and no cell signal.
Fortunately, one of the women had brought her brand new iPhone 14 with her, and used Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature to get a hold of emergency services.
Dwight Yochim, senior manager with BC Search and Rescue, explained:
“Then it was basically a wall of snow and when they tried to get through it, they got stuck. There’s no cell service there but one of them happened to have the new Apple phone that has the SOS in it and activated the SOS and to my knowledge, that’s the first use of the SOS in British Columbia.”
An Apple call center received the message, relayed it to Northern 911 which is a call center in Canada. Northern 911 then initiated a call to emergency services in British Columbia with a bunch of information, including the GPS location of the subject.
As the GPS location has been identified, Robson Valley Search and Rescue were able to quickly locate the stranded women, pull their car out of its difficult position, got them to turn around and be on their way.
Yochim praised the clever technology, saying that if not for the iPhone 14’s SOS feature, they could have conducted an epic search that might have lasted more than a week, involving a number of search teams from both provinces, and covering several hundred kilometers.
“This is a game changer. They were able to activate the SOS reduced the search to an exact location of where they were, so there was no search, and team actually drove in right to where they were and managed to save them.”