Two men, one a skier the other a snowboarder, were lost in the Swiss Alps earlier this week after leaving marked runs at the ski resort of Savognin. They faced a long, cold night outdoors, but were later rescued by an eagle-eyed SAR team who spotted them from the air thanks to the faint glow of the screen of an iPod.
According to this story over at Gizmodo, the men attempted to call for help using their cell phone, but the battery died, forcing search and rescue teams to comb the mountain looking for them. With temperatures dropping down to -15º C (5º F), the situation could have become very serious as the night wore on, but thanks to their handy MP3 player, the two Frenchmen were able to signal the passing helicopter. In the end, they suffered only minor hypothermia, and were probably back on the slopes, skiing out of bounds, again the next day.
My iPod has become part of my essential travel gear over the past few years. It’s saved me on many long flights, and has proven to be worth every penny time and time again. I never considered it to truly be survival gear for the backcountry however. Apple should sign these guys up for a commercial with a tagline that simply says: “iPod: It Saves Lives!”