In a very recent happening in Canada, Apple Emergency SOS via satellite feature enabled the successful rescue operation of two women trapped in the woods near McBride.
As per a report in the Times Colonist, the two women were on their way back from a trip to Alberta, Canada, when they came across a highway closure. After checking Google Maps for an alternate direction, they decided to take a diversion via the Holmes Forest Service Road.
After driving for about 20 kilometers on the path, the women faced a dead-end as the road came to an end, and allegedly, they were stuck in thick snow without cellular reception or means of going back. .
Quite fortunately, one of the women had an iPhone 14 – which had the Emergency SOS via satellite feature, and she reached out for help – activating the feature.
The RCMP and Robeson Valley Search and Rescue used the GPS location to estimate where the women may have gone on the logging road, and planned a rescue operation.
Dwight Yochim, senior manager for BC Search and Rescue, said, “They found them, got out of their vehicle and turned them back on the road. This is the kind of thing that could potentially save their lives.”
Moreover, he claimed that if they hadn’t had the Apple 14 handset, “what would have happened is eventually the family or their work would have said ‘hey, they didn’t show up’ and so the search area would have been from wherever they were last seen to where they were supposed to be, and that could have been several hundred kilometers.”
With iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, one can use Emergency SOS via satellite to text emergency services when they run out of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. One can also access the Find My app to share their location with people via satellite.
How Emergency SOS via satellite works
Emergency SOS via satellite can help people connect with emergency services under exceptional circumstances when no other means of reaching emergency services are available. If a person calls or texts emergency services and can’t connect because they are beyond the range of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, their iPhone would try to connect them via satellite to the help that they need.
When one uses a satellite connection, the experience is way different than sending or receiving a message via cellular. In ideal conditions with a direct view of the sky and the horizon, a message might take 15 seconds to send, and over a minute to send under trees with light or medium foliage. If one is under heavy foliage or surrounded by other obstructions, they might not be able to connect to a satellite. Connection times can also be affected by the person’s surroundings, the length of the message, and the status and availability of the satellite network.
Apple has made Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years after the activation of iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro.