On Aug 22, 2008 COPA member Michael Ervin set off to enjoy a backcountry wilderness trip to the base of Mount Assiniboine, one of the highest and most distinctive peaks in the Canadian Rockies outside of Banff. A bad fall under the weight of his forty-five pound backpack left Ervin with a ruptured quadriceps tendon to his knee, unable to put any weight on his leg and 10 kilometres from the nearest road with no cell phone coverage.
Ervin, president of fuel-analysis firm MJ Ervin & Associates of Calgary said, I was experiencing shock and knew I was unable to walk. I needed real help and pressed the 9-1-1 button on my SPOT Satellite Messenger to notify emergency responders of my GPS location coordinates.
The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a personal safety device which enables users to communicate via satellite technology from remote locations around the globe and initiate check-in and emergency response calls independently of cellular networks.
Banff National Parks, which maintains a 24/7 rescue office, immediately dispatched a local Parks helicopter to Ervin's exact location. He was flown to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital and underwent surgery the next day.
As a pilot, I learned about SPOT through my membership with COPA and purchased the device because it was more affordable than other PLBs and due to its GPS location capability SPOT is far more reliable than the 121.5 ELT, Ervin said. Because it's small and lightweight, I take SPOT with me on my backpacking trips to stay connected with my family and friends at home. This time, it proved vital in getting me the quick medical attention that I needed.