A man who fell sick in a remote area of Scotland was rescued after his distress signal was picked up thousands of miles away – in Houston, Texas.
The man, in his mid-70s, normally lets his family and friends know he is OK every Sunday through a check-in alert sent on a GPS device called SPOT.
But last Sunday he triggered an SOS alert which was picked up by a response centre at the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre (IERCC) in Houston.
The centre notified HM Coastguard Mission Control Centre (MCC) in Fareham, Hampshire on Sunday just before 6pm. They sent the Prestwick Coastguard helicopter to the man’s remote Scottish cabin to check if he was OK.
When the coastguard winchman got to the man’s cabin near Fort William, he found he was extremely ill and needed urgent medical assistance.
The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were called in to help move the man from his home so he could be taken to hospital by ambulance.
Neil Blewett, UK aeronautical operations centre controller for HM Coastguard, said: “When the man activated his beacon that signal went via satellite to Houston, which then gets sent to our MCC [control centre] for attention.
“What must seem a very long way round for an alert to reach us is actually very quick thanks to the satellite technology that we use.
“In this case, the man’s activation of his beacon, the satellites and the SPOT beacon itself saved his life because without any of those we would not have known he needed urgent help.
“We have since heard that the man is doing well and we wish him a speedy recovery so that he can return home as soon as possible.”
(c) Sky News 2019: Man rescued in the Highlands after SOS signal is picked up in Texas