Claire Leenen is a born adventurer. With just a backpack, she hiked North America’s famous 2,650 mile (4,265 kilometer) Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 and is tackling the 1500km Via Dinarica across Eastern Europe in summer 2016. She always takes her SPOT tracker with her to keep in touch with family and supporters back home in the Netherlands.
In February 2016, in the height of winter, she was one of a pair of volunteer guides leading a group of 11 on a week’s trip snowshoeing from cabin to cabin following the winter route in Reinheimen National Park in Tafjordfjella, Western Norway.
Rescue Profile: Han
Case #: 15918
While on a seven day hiking trip in Tasmania, Australia, Han Strating and his girlfriend were near New Pelion when they came across another hiker experiencing heart problems. Realizing the man was in need of serious medical attention; Han quickly pulled out his SPOT GEN3® and pressed the S.O.S. button. Luckily, there was a nurse with the individual who was already providing first aid to keep him stable while they waited for help.
Since the SPOT GEN3 belonged to Han, GEOS, reached out to his mother who happened to be his primary point of contact. Han’s mother, who happened to be on the other side of the world and with no prior knowledge of his whereabouts, became very wary upon receiving the call from GEOS. Han says that his mom was “stressed for a few hours, but ultimately was happy and proud of what I did…” Within 2 ½ hours from when Han pressed the S.O.S button on his SPOT device to aid the fellow hiker, the Westpac Rescue helicopter arrived at their location to take the patient and his wife to Hobart Hospital. As soon as the helicopter took off, Han began notifying his friends and emergency contacts that he was indeed okay and not in danger.
Rescue Profile: Matt Oliver
Case #: 15932
Matt Oliver and four friends picked a beautiful day for snowmobiling in Steamboat Springs, CO. They set off on their ride around 10 AM and traveled a familiar route. A few hours into their ride, they decided to take a different path back to their vehicles. The new path led them to a creek ravine and they realized they were getting into dangerous avalanche terrain. They began strategizing the best way out.
The group of five experienced snowmobilers vacillated about driving back through their old tracks, but after determining their location via their GPS system, they decided it was safer to head down the creek for another half mile rather than driving back uphill. The thick blankets of snow made it very difficult for them to make much distance and they knew they couldn't continue on without putting themselves at a greater risk.
Luckily, Matt and his friends were well prepared with saws, thermals, boiling pots and Matt's SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. "I pressed the S.O.S. on my SPOT to alert GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center, knowing that it would not be until morning when search and rescue could safely come help us," commented Matt. They made a fire and set up camp for the night. Meanwhile, GEOS contacted Matt's mom and dad to let them know of the situation. The family was advised that it would take some time for search and rescue to assist due to the situation of snow and avalanche danger.
François and Chantal Hersen are keen glider pilots. Living in France, they have travelled extensively in Europe on their gliding adventures and have had a SPOT Gen3 with a subscription to Extreme Tracking since 2013.
In January 2016 they embarked on four-week adventure in Namibia. From their base at renowned gliding centre Bitterwasser Lodge, they planned to take a glider across the Kalahari Desert.
All seemed fine when they launched their glider however an hour into the journey they suddenly lost control of the aircraft and found themselves in a rapid uncontrolled descent. They were unable to steer the glider at all, and their downward acceleration reached such speed that both wings detached from the body of the plane.
Rescue Profile: Alfred Moore
Case #: 15780
Alfred Moore, an outdoor aficionado from Southern California, has been riding motorcycles for four years, on average 3-5 days a week. He and seven of his buddies recently went on a three-day weekend camping trip in the Los Padres National Forest. On the second day, Alfred and one other were tailing at the end of their group when he hit a switchback in the soft sand and took a hard fall.
After his friend helped pull his bike off of him, Alfred realized he was in bad shape. "The initial pain was horrific, but then I lost feeling in my leg below my knee cap," he stated. Alfred's first instinct was to call his wife, Tiffanie. After dropped calls due to poor cell coverage, he grabbed his SPOT Gen3 that his wife convinced him to purchase just days prior to trip and pressed the S.O.S button.
Back at home, Tiffanie received the call from GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center. She had told GEOS that she suspected he was in trouble after the attempted calls he had made earlier but didn't know what was wrong. They assured her help was on the way to his location and that they would be back in touch with her to provide an update.