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New technology SPOT on in search for missing men in Labrador

Satellite Personal Trackers (SPOT) devices. RCMP photo.
Satellite Personal Trackers (SPOT) devices. RCMP photo. - The Telegram

The RCMP in Hopedale say satellite personal trackers (SPOT) were proven successful during a search for two missing Hopedale men on Jan. 26.

On that morning the men set out from Hopedale to visit family in Natuashish but, before leaving, they borrowed one of the RCMP SPOT devices from the Hopedale Conservation office.

About 8 p.m. that evening, the RCMP received a report from the SPOT call centre advising of two SOS activations. The men had run into trouble around 7:55 p.m. and activated the SOS feature on the SPOT device indicating an emergency.

Assisted by local search and rescue, officers were successful in determining the men’s co-ordinates near Davis Inlet, just outside of Natuashish. The men were safely located around 10:30 p.m. There were no injuries.

The RCMP says there are 10 SPOTS available for the general public with five situated at the Hopedale RCMP office and five with the Hopedale Conservation office. 

Hopedale RCMP along with Nunatsiavut communities spearheaded a program in March 2017 whereby the 10 SPOT devices were purchased through fundraising efforts and donations from community partners. 

The devices are to be loaned, free of charge, to those who are planning to venture out on the land. SPOTS are also available at RCMP offices in the communities of Makkovik, Nain, Postville and Rigolet.

Upon sign out, trip details are gathered and kept by police. If a search is necessary, the person can be quickly located using the information provided and by tracking co-ordinates on the device.

“The community has shown a great interest in the program” RCMP Sgt. Darryl MacMullin said in a news release last March. “We are seeing more and more individuals signing them out. There is no doubt these devices help keep people safe.”

The RCMP encourage people to always make a plan when travelling on the land. Let family or friends know the route you intend to take and the expected time of return. As well, it is important to dress for the conditions and to carry supplies in case you become stranded. Be sure to carry a satellite phone, marine radio, emergency communications device or other means of communication.

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