iPhone 14 Satellite SOS saves stranded New Zealand hikers

Posted:
in iPhone

Two hikers trapped Wednesday on a riverbank in New Zealand's Arthur's Pass National Park used the satellite SOS feature on their iPhone 14 to summon help for first time in the country.

SOS via Satellite
SOS via Satellite



As the result of heavy rain runoff in the area, water levels near the Sudden Valley Stream in Arthur's Pass began to rise to an unsafe level, according to news reports. The hikers were unable to navigate around or through the hazard and summoned emergency services using the iPhone 14's Emergency SOS by Satellite feature.

The feature connects the iPhone to a network of satellites operated by GlobalStar, enabling users to locate a satellite overhead, then send a series of pre-formatted messages and their precise location. The information is transmitted to ground crews for verification, who then dispatch emergency services.

Emergency SOS by Satellite launched in November 2022 in the U.S. and Canada, after Apple previewed the feature with the launch of the iPhone 14. Apple activated the feature in Australia and New Zealand in May, after introducing the feature in several European Union nations following the U.S. and Canada launch.

New Zealand air and rescue ambulance operator GCH Aviation and Canterbury West Air Rescue Service coordinated the rescue efforts. Canterbury confirmed its involvement in the rescue operation through its Instagram account.

"Did you know that an iPhone 14 has an SOS feature that can connect via satellite and alert authorities if you become lost or injured out in the backcountry?

"Yesterday we were able to respond to some hikers stranded in a river because they had this technology with them," the company reported.

Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

Read on AppleInsider

FileMakerFeller

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,919member
    You can't put the price on life, Apple iPhone's Emergency SOS by Satellite is life saving feature. Going forward, users will ask for more like 2-way emergency messaging by Satellite if not 2-way emergency voice call by Satellite!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    davendaven Posts: 704member
    I have an iPhone XS Max and the only reason I thin of upgrading is for the satellite SOS. I do a lot of backcountry hiking and am out of cell phone range much of the time.
    chasm
  • Reply 3 of 11
    XedXed Posts: 2,655member
    wood1208 said:
    You can't put the price on life, Apple iPhone's Emergency SOS by Satellite is life saving feature. Going forward, users will ask for more like 2-way emergency messaging by Satellite if not 2-way emergency voice call by Satellite!
    That's a nice sentiment, but pedantically speaking, it happens constantly. There are many specific businesses and careers that revolve specifically around doing just that, and every country does so. Additionally, every adult human is also putting a value on a life whether we realize it or not when we choose to help or not help another person. 
  • Reply 4 of 11

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
  • Reply 5 of 11

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 11
    XedXed Posts: 2,655member

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    If you think that a "wait and see" attitude is the safer option then explain to me how these hikers would've been safer without an iPhone 14 with the Emergency SOS Satellite feature, because... as you claim, it hasn't been proven?

    I think it's objectively been proven to work countless times over the past year. it's also a built-in feature in the iPhone (which I can only assume will be in nearly all smartphones within a few years) that doesn't require an additional device to be purchase, activated, subscribed, and carried by individuals who otherwise wouldn't have had a dedicated unit  on their person (as we've seen countless times in the last year).
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Xed said:

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    If you think that a "wait and see" attitude is the safer option then explain to me how these hikers would've been safer without an iPhone 14 with the Emergency SOS Satellite feature, because... as you claim, it hasn't been proven?

    I think it's objectively been proven to work countless times over the past year. it's also a built-in feature in the iPhone (which I can only assume will be in nearly all smartphones within a few years) that doesn't require an additional device to be purchase, activated, subscribed, and carried by individuals who otherwise wouldn't have had a dedicated unit  on their person (as we've seen countless times in the last year).
    Read the article mate. It’s the first use in New Zealand. As I’ve already explained, New Zealand has very different terrain and very different emergency systems to other countries.

    One use case working doesn’t prove it works. Working in a desert with wide open skies is different to being in the bush where canyons can prevent GPS and satellites from working. Hell, satellite systems don’t always work in a city.

    A wait and see process is a good idea to prove that it’s reliable enough for people to ditch EPERBs and other PLBs.

    Just because it works in your country doesn’t mean it will in others. Plain and simple.
    muthuk_vanalingamentropysFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 11

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    I’m a kiwi too, and “wait and see” isn’t how I’d describe our approach to new tech. In this case, there was more to the comment on the iPhone 14, in particular battery life. An EPERB has a standby battery life measured in years and a transmit life of many days - depending on model. They’re also waterproof & float. Keeping a beacon in your backpack provides better guarantees than an iPhone.
    when I left NZ to travel abroad, many years ago, I was amazed at how advanced some tech was in our country compared to Aus/US/Uk - adoption of ATMs, Chip & Pin cards, interbank funds transfers (fast, quick, free), GSM roaming, broadband speed and adoption, etc. we aren’t laggards at all.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,210member
    Indeed. If you are so often in a situation where an EPERB is standard kit, the iPhone isn’t an instead of.

    it is for the less frequent hiker, who usually isn’t so completely off the beaten track but even so can still get in trouble.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 10 of 11
    XedXed Posts: 2,655member
    Xed said:

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    If you think that a "wait and see" attitude is the safer option then explain to me how these hikers would've been safer without an iPhone 14 with the Emergency SOS Satellite feature, because... as you claim, it hasn't been proven?

    I think it's objectively been proven to work countless times over the past year. it's also a built-in feature in the iPhone (which I can only assume will be in nearly all smartphones within a few years) that doesn't require an additional device to be purchase, activated, subscribed, and carried by individuals who otherwise wouldn't have had a dedicated unit  on their person (as we've seen countless times in the last year).
    Read the article mate. It’s the first use in New Zealand. As I’ve already explained, New Zealand has very different terrain and very different emergency systems to other countries.

    One use case working doesn’t prove it works. Working in a desert with wide open skies is different to being in the bush where canyons can prevent GPS and satellites from working. Hell, satellite systems don’t always work in a city.

    A wait and see process is a good idea to prove that it’s reliable enough for people to ditch EPERBs and other PLBs.

    Just because it works in your country doesn’t mean it will in others. Plain and simple.
    I clearly rest the article and your sweeping generalization of all New Zeleanders and your illogical statement about “wait and see” always  being a better option.
  • Reply 11 of 11

    Due to the relative novelty of Apple's service, the air rescue company advised its customers instead to rely on Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), dedicated devices which use satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

    That sounds more like an anti-Apple stance, or an unwillingness to adapt to changing technology. Before the PLB's did they recommend flares?  And before flares was it "yelling really loudly"? :D
    That pretty much sums up how New Zealand reacts to new tech but it’s not an anti-Apple stance or anything like that. New Zealand has a “wait and see” mentality which is annoying but also the safer option.

    New Zealand’s terrain is extremely difficult terrain and with it brings issues that even the incumbent tech such as PLBs and EPERBs can’t get around. So a new tech like this isn’t proven yet.

    My real question is though, why weren’t these trampers heading out with an EPERB? That’s potential suicide even on designated walkways like Arthur’s Pass.
    I’m a kiwi too, and “wait and see” isn’t how I’d describe our approach to new tech. In this case, there was more to the comment on the iPhone 14, in particular battery life. An EPERB has a standby battery life measured in years and a transmit life of many days - depending on model. They’re also waterproof & float. Keeping a beacon in your backpack provides better guarantees than an iPhone.
    when I left NZ to travel abroad, many years ago, I was amazed at how advanced some tech was in our country compared to Aus/US/Uk - adoption of ATMs, Chip & Pin cards, interbank funds transfers (fast, quick, free), GSM roaming, broadband speed and adoption, etc. we aren’t laggards at all.
    I never said we were laggards but I worked in IT for 18 years here and for the most part New Zealand does indeed take a wait and see approach.

    I used to work for the only gas supplier in New Zealand and I was there when a critical system was being upgraded. They were upgrading with serial ports instead of USB/Bluetooth because it wasn’t in the budget to do so. I mentioned that in 10 years time they’d be forced to as serial ports would be removed and that project will cost them $20,000,000. Ten years later I was right.

    The banking system here is still far behind in many respects. Take for example TSB. They hand over EFTPOS cards by default as opposed to debit cards.

    There’s a lack of support in New Zealand for ApplePay with only a small handful of the major banks supporting it. While we do have interbank transfers, we’ve only just got it to the point where it’s within the same day and it’s certainly not instant like direct transfers are with PayPal or other systems used in America, unless you’re transferring within the same bank.

    New Zealand leads the way in a number of tech but there is still a wariness for many. Look how long it took New Zealand to get 3G, 4G, etc and 5G is still only in small pockets.

    Rural internet is lagging behind many countries and that’s our biggest industry. Don’t even get me started on the lack of technological interest the majority of farmers have, even though it will make them more money in the grand scheme of things.

    I'm not saying the whole of New Zealand is like this but corporate New Zealand certainly is. Hell, I was involved in a Ministry of Justice project in 2005 that saw them upgrading their PCs to Windows 2000… in 2005… with Win2k already unsupported by M$.

    I was a Systems Engineer in Parliament in 2010 and the rigmarole even the PM had just to get his emails on his iPad because the iPad was only just released in New Zealand at the time was ridiculous. If that’s at the highest level of the country you can see how it filters down.
    FileMakerFeller
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