iPhone’s SOS Satellite Feature Just Helped Rescue A Family Of Hikers Lost In A Freezing Oregon Forest, Says Report

In a survival story, a family abandoned in the freezing Oregon woods had to rely on their iPhone as an unforeseen savior. The six-person crew was lost in the untamed Mt. Hood National Forest because of the high altitude and dangerous weather.

“It appears they were lost and unable to find their way back in the heavy snow, as well as experiencing the effects of fatigue and exposure due to the weather conditions,” said Brian McCall, a spokesperson for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

The family requested help at 7:30 p.m. using the iPhone’s satellite capacity to activate the Emergency SOS function. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office then picked up the distress signal.

Apple first unveiled its satellite-based Emergency SOS feature with the iPhone 14. It allows iPhone 14 and 15 owners to communicate with emergency professionals even when they are entirely out of the range of mobile signals. Connecting to Earth-orbiting satellites lets you communicate coordinates and messages to nearby responders.

On Tuesday, the family departed for the trip from the Salmon River Trailhead. Eight kilometers and 3,500 feet later, the group—which included two little children—was confronted with bad weather and quickly falling temperatures.

A search and rescue team did not locate the group until 6 a.m. the following day due to the snow, steep terrain, and fallen trees, even though ground teams were equipped with all-terrain vehicles. The landscape and weather created challenges for a failed helicopter rescue attempt.

Rescuers found the family cold, wet, and dehydrated but otherwise unharmed. Getting them back from the remote location also proved challenging. Another ground crew, using a Snowcat vehicle, departed at 10 a.m. and reached the family several hours later.

The family and rescuers were transported back to safety 24 hours after the initial SOS call.

To activate Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, press and hold one of the volume keys and the lock button. Three sliders will appear, and you can swipe over the emergency call slider.

The SOS feature has already saved numerous lives. It aided rescuers when, in August, floodwaters carried a hiker and her dog down a Utah canyon. A Delaware student prevented carbon monoxide poisoning in January by promptly utilizing her Apple Watch’s Emergency SOS feature.

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