After Google Map shows wrong route, iPhone 14's SOS saves two women in Canada
According to Dwight Yochim, a senior manager with BC Search and Rescue, this was possibly the first use of the feature in British Columbia.
Two women stranded in British Columbia in Canada were reportedly saved by iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature, which was launched in November 2022. According to a Times Colonist report, the women were on their way back to Alberta when an accident closed the main highway.
To check for an alternate way, they used Google Maps, which directed them to take the Holmes Forest Service Road. However, this road had only been “partially plowed” after severe snowstorms and the women reached a dead end in the wilderness of McBride located in the Robson Valley region after driving for nearly 20 km.
Stranded with no cellular service, one of the women, who had an iPhone 14 activated the Emergency SOS via satellite and alerted an Apple help centre. The call centre then informed Northern 911 in Canada, which then contacted British Columbia emergency services, conveying the GPS location.
According to Dwight Yochim, a senior manager with BC Search and Rescue, the team that rescued the women, this was possibly the first use of the feature in British Columbia. He called it a “game changer” and added that if it was not for the SOS, the rescue operations would have lasted for a week involving multiple teams.
Yochim also said that the team was in touch with Apple to hold classes for SAR managers to brief more on this technology, which has the “potential of reducing the time and effort it takes to save lives”.
The safety feature works without WiFi or cellular service as it lets users text emergency services via satellite. The feature, currently available in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK, does not function in India due to strict laws around satellite connectivity.
This is not the first time that Apple devices have saved the lives of its users. In December 2022, a man who was travelling from Noorvik to Alaska was stranded in a remote location. He activated the emergency SOS via satellite feature, which the tech giant's Emergency Response Center used to alert the search and rescue department.