On the 22nd of September 2018 French authorities detected a transmission from a GME Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), activated by two Australians hiking in the French Pyrenees, when a member of the party suffered a life-threatening injury after being gored by a charging cow.
The man was left immobilised as the result of a 30cm gash in his thigh which had severed the femoral artery, resulting in significant blood loss. The man’s hiking companion, luckily a trained medical doctor, was able to activate their GME MT410G PLB at 10.08am local time, and help stabilise his condition whilst awaiting the arrival of emergency services.
The 406Mhz transmission was received almost immediately by the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system which relayed the signal to the French Rescue Control Centre. The French RCC then liaised with Australian Maritime Safety Authority to confirm the details of the PLB’s registered owner, before commencing a rescue operation and tasking a rescue helicopter to attend the location.
At 10.35am the emergency helicopter arrived at the scene and after stabilising the wounded man, was airborne by 11.35am to transfer the patient to the nearby Tarbes Hospital where he had three blood transfusions and underwent emergency surgery.
The man has since made a full recovery and plans to return to the French Pyrenees to complete his trek as soon as possible.
Once again this serves as an example of the benefits of carrying a properly registered PLB when participating in potentially dangerous activities in remote terrain. In this situation the GME PLB was vital in swiftly providing rescue authorities with a GPS location that saved the life of this intrepid adventurer.