Smart phone helps in Sleeping Beauty rescue

  • Sep. 14, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Many of us might consider the latest iPhone an urban-style accessory, but it turns out this gadget is pretty handy when it comes to rescuing people stranded in the bush. Ministry of Forests engineering and recreation officer Larry Duke tells us that he was called out Saturday evening (Sept. 8) to help find a woman lost on Sleeping Beauty mountain. The woman had hiked up the mountain during the day, but had lost the trail on her way down. Worried because it was starting to get dark, she used her iPhone to google the number for the RCMP in Queen Charlotte, and called for help. The RCMP asked Mr. Duke, who is familiar with the trail, to assist. When they got to the start of the trail, he used his cell phone to call the lost hiker. He asked her if she had the latest version of the phone, which she did. The newest iPhone, Mr. Duke said, has a feature that allows the user to drop a map pin showing exactly where they are located. Mr. Duke had just figured out how to use that feature the previous week, and now he explained to the hiker how to do it. She emailed him the map, and he and the RCMP officer immediately headed in that direction. When they got to the general area they started calling, and found her right away. “We were back within two hours,” he said. “It really made the rescue easy. The iPhone saved the day, so to speak.” Interestingly, Mr. Duke says, there’s good cell phone reception out on Sleeping Beauty, especially at the higher elevations where there is a clear line of sight to the cell phone tower. Mr. Duke said the trail can be a bit confusing in some places, especially when the light is low. The Ministry is planning to do some trail clearing and re-marking in the near future.

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