Emergency Transmitter in Watch Alerts Alaska Rescuers to Missing Man’s Location
A watch made more than a fashion statement when it helped save a stranded hunter’s life in Alaska on August 15th. Mark Spencer was hunting grizzly bears about 120 miles northeast of Anchorage when he became stuck in the wilderness along Susitna River in the heart of the infamous Alaska Range. Unable to navigate the hazardous Class 6 rapids of the Susitna River, his float-hunting party had diverted the course of their boat to the Tyone River. But the river route proved too shallow for their vessel. Spencer left his group and went searching for help on the glaciated Susitna River and struck a shoal tearing a hole in the vessel sinking it in the icy waters. He had spent more than 48 treacherous hours struggling for his life among the unrelenting elements of the Alaskan Backcountry.
“Breitling is the number one piece of equipment I always bring with me”, said Spencer, who works in the renewable energy industry. “Even if I lose everything, I will always have my watch. That gives me and my family peace of mind.”
The timepiece is designed with a micro-transmitter broadcasting on the 121.5 MHz aircraft emergency frequency. The transmitter is activated by unscrewing a protective cap and extending a short antenna. Despite the small size of the watch, the signal range is comparable to traditional hand-held Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and can broadcast for 48 hours.
Spencer activated his watch’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) after a dangerous trek up the frigid Susitna River left him hypothermic and near death in the isolated backcountry. A rescue crew was able to pinpoint his location and lift him to safety by helicopter after they picked up the distress signal.
“It brings Breitling great pleasure to hear about this kind of customer satisfaction”, said Thierry Prissert, President of Breitling USA. “We’re hoping from now on he only has to use his watch to tell time.”