Mountain Rescue Teams Find Missing Person With Smart Phone App

Mountain Rescue Team Find Missing Person With Smart Phone App

It seems like there really is an ‘App’ for everything…

On Sunday 8th January 2012 at approximately 18.00hrs, Mountain Rescue in Wicklow received their second call-out of the day, this time for a long-distance runner who was reported as missing in Wicklow.

The Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and The Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team immediately put their members on full call out as more information was gathered from the person who made the initial 999 call.

Fortunately rescuers were able to contact the missing runner using his mobile phone. He was training for the Art O’Neill Challenge, a commemorative 55km overnight run through the Wicklow Mountains and had lost his GPS unit along the way. He was now in an extremely remote location and unsure of his exact position or which way he should go next.

Using software called SARLOC developed by Mountain Rescue the man was sent a link by text message which opened up a mobile app on his smartphone. This app quickly determined his location and sent the coordinates to a computer displaying an Ordnance Survey map of Wicklow. Using this information the rescuers were able to establish his location with an accuracy of 100m and were able to start planning his rescue.

Both teams have developed an excellent relationship with the ESB and are regularly allowed access to the pumped storage facility at Turlough Hill for training purposes. In this case, the road to the upper reservoir was the nearest vehicular access point to the man’s location and a rescue base was established at that location. Two hill parties of rescuers set out across the hills carrying warm clothing and first aid equipment. As the man’s location was now known they were able to make good progress without having to spread out in a search formation. Searching for a person in the dark over rough ground is physically strenuous and slow work so in this case the Mountain Rescue location software was of significant benefit.

Brian O’Doherty, PRO for Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue noted that “Even though we were able to find this man quickly, it was dependent on him having the right phone and very good 3G coverage. It doesn’t always work and there is still a need for people who go out on the hills to have and know how to use navigation equipment such as a map and compass.”

Compass and map navigation is a basic skill that you must have if you’re walking in the high hills, fells and mountains. If you don’t have this skill – then please learn it. A smartphone alone is not – and never will be – an adequate substitute for a suitable map, compass and basic skills.

For more information on Mountain Skills Training we at Outdoor Community recommend  This is a great company run by Aaron Byrne ‘Team Leader Of The Glen Of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team..

Once the man was reached by the volunteers, he was given warm clothing, quickly assessed for any potential medical issues and brought to safety. Team members were stood down at approximately 21:00 after their second call-out today and their third this year so far.

The Wicklow Mountains area is served by two Mountain Rescue Teams,  The Glen Of Imal Red Cross Team And the Dublin And Wicklow Team, Both of these Mountain Rescue Teams do a fantastic job and are a vital assist to the development and direction of adventure sports in the Dublin and Wicklow areas. Please support these team by visiting there websites and making a donation to acknowledge there fantastic work they carryout on a voluntary basis 24 hours a day 365 days a year.