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Hiker rescued on Isle Royale from locator beam
A signal sent to a satellite by a hiker from a remote part of a Lake Superior island lead to a rescue that took just 30 minutes. Mike Simonson reports.
A high-tech device sparked a U.S./Canadian search and rescue on Isle Royale yesterday.
The distress signal was picked up in Ontario around 3 p.m., set off from a remote area of Isle Royale National Park. Coast Guard Petty Officer Chris Yaw says an injured woman activated her Personal Locator Beacon after breaking her leg during a hike.
“Once these things go off, they’re picked up by the satellite and transmit pretty much your exact location within a couple of feet.”
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel was dispatched from Thunder Bay while a Dolphin helicopter responded from Traverse City, Michigan. Yaw says the rescue crafts are equipped with beacon locators.
“Once we lock on to those, we know right where you’re at so it’s just the transit time to get out to you. So honestly, it essentially takes the search out of search and rescue.”
So, what could have taken hours to rescue the 55 year-old woman, took just 30 minutes.
“And that’s one of the things. I mean, without that, we might not even have known she was in distress. And that would have depended on if she told someone where she was going and even if she did, we probably wouldn’t have known until someone would have called and reported her missing.”
Yaw says this technology is still rare among hikers and kayakers, possibly because they cost about $150.
“Definitely worth something when it comes down to saving your life to have this device.”
The woman was airlifted to a hospital in Houghton, Michigan.
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