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Family trapped on Mt. Hood rescued via Emergency SOS via Satellite

High altitude combined with bad weather caused a group of hikers to become stranded, but they were rescued within 24 hours thanks to SOS via Satellite for iPhone.

A family of hikers had hiked from the Salmon River Trailhead of Mt. Hood on Tuesday, ultimately climbing eight miles and gaining 3,500 feet of elevation. Due to changing weather and dropping temperatures, they used the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature to summon help.

According to a report from Clackamas County Sheriff's Office a call for help came in at 7:30pm. Due to worsening conditions, the family was advised to shelter in place as rescuers tried to reach them.

Ground crews using all-terrain vehicles were deployed, but couldn't reach them due to the changing conditions until 6am the following morning. Rescuers found the group "cold, wet, and dyhydrated, but otherwise okay."

There was still the problem of getting the group of four adults and two children back down the mountain. A helicopter rescue was attempted, but couldn't land because of the weather and terrain challenges.

Another ground crew, this time using a Snowcat vehicle from the Sheriff's Department, left at 10am and reached the family and first rescuers several hours later due to the difficult terrain. Ultimately, the family and all personnel were transported back to the search and rescue command post at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 24 hours after their initial SOS call.

Emergency personnel attending to rescued family in parking lot

The SOS via Satellite feature debuted with the iPhone 14 models, and has credited with saving many lives since its deployment. Text communication is limited due to the low bandwidth of satellites, but precise coordinates and other relevant information is automatically passed on to authorities when the feature is activated.