Saved by his iPhone: Brit snowboarder rescued after he fell down 15ft Alps crevasse

1 April 2022, 14:20

snow
Brit snowboarder saved by his iPhone after he fell down Alps crevasse. Picture: Instagram

By Liam Gould

A British snowboarder has been saved by his smartphone after he fell down a 15ft hole in the Alps and used Apple's SOS feature to call for emergency services.

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Tim Blakey, 41, was using his snowboard alone at around 10,000ft when he fell down a crevasse hidden by layers of snow.

The personal trainer fell into the 15ft hole and onto a fragile snow bridge that caught his fall, which meant he didn't plummet further.

Trapped in the crevasse with just 3 per cent charge left on his phone, he had the idea to press his iPhone power button five times on and off. This activated the SOS feature which automatically called the emergency services and shared his location.

After being rescued by emergency services, Mr Blakey said: "I had a battery booster in my backpack and had to move very, very carefully to get it off and get it out."

"I had a 3G connection down there but needed it on long enough for them to locate me. It was 20 minutes before I got hold of the emergency services and they told me not to move."

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Mr Blakey was rescued after 45 minutes of being trapped in the crevasse by Rescue volunteer Michael Schwarzl, who received the text with Blakey's location.

He later led the rescue team and called for a helicopter air lift for Mr Blakey.

The experienced mountain rescuer said: "He was very lucky to have a phone signal. Three days later, I attended a similar rescue nearby, but the person fell 100ft and died."

Mr Blakey was rushed to hospital where he left the same day with an injured ankle ligament.

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A week after the incident, Mr Blakey posted on social media reflecting on his ordeal.

"A week ago to this very minute my appreciation for life changed dramatically. Michael and his team quite literally saved my life," he said.

"I am still clueless as to how I will ever repay him and the Swiss rescue services.

"Seventeen years snowboarding and the majority of those times spending a lot of the time solo and off-piste. Never solo again."

Apple's SOS feature is installed on every iPhone sold by the company, and is activated by pressing the on/off button five times.

The tech company's website highlights "when you make a call with SOS, your iPhone will automatically call the local emergency number for where you are".

After the call, a text will be sent to their emergency contacts set up on the phone with their location.

Mr Blakey said he was indebted to the company for including the feature in their smartphone models.

"The last thank you is to Apple [and] their side button five click to emergency services – especially great when your screen is constantly being dripped on."

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