While supporting a global expedition company, Traveller Assist received a notification in our assistance centre that a student had activated the SOS button on his SPOT GPS. Our assistance team was able to pinpoint the exact location of the activation in Ecuador, but had no further information.
Our Case Manager immediately contacted the expedition organisation to inform them of the situation. They confirmed that each student carried a SPOT GPS, and explained that their students had extensive training before deployment, and knew only to activate their SOS button in an emergency.
It was explained to us that the procedure was for Expedition Leaders to check-in at 8am and 5pm every day, from their accommodation, which had internet access. The SOS activation was at 11:13am which likely meant that the students were already over three-hours into their daily activities.
Traveller Assist was activated to locate, and coordinate the rescue of the student (or students). Our assistance team immediately contacted a Search and Rescue company in our provider network, who our company had worked with before after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 2016 in the country.
We provided them with the exact location of the SOS activation, a remote area approx. 25km's outside Quito, and then contacted the expedition company to inform them of our actions.
The Search and Rescue team reached the location of the SOS activation within 30-minutes, and located a small group of students, one of whom had fallen and broken his leg. The expedition leader had made the decision to keep the group together, and activate the SOS, knowing that help would be sent.
The student had fallen onto a ledge, approx. 18 feet down, and required a line rescue, with stretcher. A paramedic was lowered onto the ledge, where he assessed the student for further injuries, and administered a diamorphine for the student's pain relief.
After approx. 90-minutes, the Search and Rescue crew had managed to lift the student to safety, and he was transported by road to a hospital in our provider network. The student was assessed, and a splint was applied to his leg. He was released later the same night.
Traveller Assist then worked with the expedition company to provide a non-medical repatriation, via a commercial flight (business class), home to the United Kingdom.