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Hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS via America

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Hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS via America
Photo: Michael Schlick/OS Muhr
10:26 CEST+02:00
A hiker trapped in the Austrian mountains was rescued after sending an SOS to the American makers of a GPS device who then sent it back around the world to the local mountain rescue team.

The 40-year-old Swiss hiker had fallen 15 metres while climbing in the Lungau region of Austria and had become trapped. 

The hiker had a GPS device on him and was able to send an SOS message to the makers of the equipment in America.

They then contacted the foreign ministry in Vienna who passed on the emergency message and the GPS location of the hiker to mountain rescue services in Lungau.

Thanks to sending the SOS thousands of miles around the world, the hiker could be saved by emergency services.

Bad weather meant a helicopter could not find the man, so a climber from the rescue team had to scale the mountain to reach him. The hiker was brought to the nearest mountain hut and then on to hospital to be treated for chest injuries and abrasions to his body.

Rescue services said even the most experienced mountain rescuers among them were astonished by the unusual way the emergency call reached them.

“I've been a member of the mountain rescue for around 41 years - I've never come across something like this before. It is really almost unique,” the head of the Salzburg Mountain Rescue Balthasar Laireiter told the ORF.

He added that it having the GPS coordinates of the hikers location was the greatest help in finding the fallen man.

“The search would otherwise need to be much larger,” he said.

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