AquaFix PLB + SarSat = fast rescue
ACR sent out a press alert about the first rescue credited to its relatively new GPS equipped Personal Locator Beacon. I can’t find any other Web references to the incident, which involved a pair of divers off Bradenton, Florida, but it certainly sounds like ACR and the whole SARSAT system have something to brag about. The little beacon was set off “around 7pm”, seen by a GOES Satellite at 6:58pm, sent up a GPS fix at 7:01pm (presumably from a cold start), and a Coast Guard 41 footer had steamed 10 plus miles to the scene by 8:10pm. It wasn’t until 7:47 that the LEOSAR satellites could resolve the beacon’s location by the standard Doppler method, a delay that might have cost a life in this case. Hat’s off to ACR’s apparently speedy GPS PLB technology and to the fast SARSAT dispatch system! Here’s an article I wrote about SARSAT last year, ACR’s AquaFix site, and an early look at these units by Doug Ritter at the Equipped to Survive Foundation (which will hopefully conduct a thorough test of current PLBs soon).