Government satellite helps rescue hikers after bear attack


On July 23, a group of students were hiking 93 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, when they were attacked by a Grizzly bear. One of the students activated an emergency personal locator beacon, which alerted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-11 satellite, which worked with a European satellite to pinpoint their location.

The coordinates were relayed to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, which alerted Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Air National Guard, who rescued the group. Four had been injured, with two requiring hospitalization.

A brief explanation of how the system works (from NOAA):

When a NOAA satellite finds the location of a distress signal within the United States or its surrounding waters, it relays the information to the SARSAT Mission Control Center based at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. From there, the information is quickly sent to a rescue coordination center operated by either the U.S. Air Force (for land rescues) or the U.S. Coast Guard (for water rescues).



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