Snowmobiler stranded in dark, frigid Alaska wilderness — until iPhone feature saved him

Photo by Jonathan Wheeler via Unsplash

When a man got lost deep in the dark Alaskan wilderness, it was his iPhone’s satellite that saved him.

The man was traveling on a snowmobile from Noorvik to Kotzebue on Thursday, Dec. 1, authorities said in a news release. The areas are located on the northwest coast and are separated by the Hotham Inlet and the Selawik Lake to the south.

Alaska State Troopers received an Apple iPhone Emergency SOS notification via satellite at about 2 a.m., the release said.

Apple iPhone Emergency SOS was introduced with the iPhone 14, according to the company. It’s intended for people to be able to reach authorities even without cell phone service.

“If a user is not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, an easy-to-use interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection,” Apple said in a news release. “A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message, to ensure they are able to quickly understand a user’s situation and location.”

Rescuers worked with local search and rescue teams, the Apple Emergency Response Center, and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator to pinpoint his GPS coordinates.

Four volunteer searchers ventured to the Nimiuk Point area, where they found him and took him to Kotzebue, the release said. No one was injured in the incident.

The Alaska Department of Public Safety told Insider the search teams went out at 3:30 a.m. and took him to Kotzebue at 6 a.m. Troopers told the outlet they were ”extremely impressed with the accuracy of the location provided,” which they credited for allowing them to “make quick decisions that helped this story have a happy ending.”

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