Mountain Rescue Team Tracks Down Tourists Trapped in a Blizzard Using an App

Mountain Rescue Team Tracks Down Tourists Trapped in a Blizzard Using an App

Grace Davis, Contributor

Travelling and touring the world has always been some people’s habits or just an overall enjoyment in their lives. Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, was a popular getaway destination that attracts tourists from all around the world. The mountain is 1,343 meters in height with plenty of snow to satisfy snow-lovers or even just some hikers deciding to take on the challenge of climbing it. A group of these hiking loving tourists chose to climb Ben Nevis in the freezing cold -20 degree weather. To make matters worse, their group had not brought any tools or necessary equipment for surviving the cold or just the mountains in general. The rescue teams mentions this fact on facebook saying, “[They had] no winter kit – no ice axes, no crampons and as far as we are aware no maps…Three of the guys were in trainers! They were about 150 meters down into Coire Eoghainn on steep ice and if they had slipped or gone down any further, consequences could have been far more serious.”

Ben Nevis is known to have several tourists that come to climb the snowy mountain in the British Isles, but it can also be a very dangerous, even fatal, destination. In March of 2019, an avalanche occured on the mountain, Ben Nevis, causing two climbers there to die and two others injured from the event. Once the tragedy happened, rescue teams were called to the scene. Scotland Police give their remarks on this saying, “Volunteers from Lochaber and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Teams remain at the scene and were assisted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Scottish Ambulance Service.” Ben Nevis’ tourists or climbers were warned of the risk of avalanches after this occurrence.

Though the chance of another avalanche was slim, there still is risks and dangers of some kind. The tourists that decided to take a hike in freezing cold weather were shown just how dangerous it could be if not handled the correct way. The tourists were not in a tragic avalanche, but they were looking at what was the hazards of Ben Nevis right in the face. They were freezing and without tools or supplies, but they did have their phones. Fortunately and miraculously, the group of tourists had service.

The rescuers had, on a phone, an app called What3words. This app works as an advantageous GPS service that uses 3, layered over words, on top of basically any location in the world. Alaa Elassar explains how exactly this apps worked saying, “The What3words app was able to take rescuers to a location on the mountain just meters away from where the tourists were trapped. The London startup works by dividing the world into 57 trillion squares and giving them each quirky, three-word addresses. It says can track down pretty much any place on the planet….The app then lets users open up the address in another mapping provider, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, which can direct them to the exact location.” The group of four men was finally found and transported to Belford Hospital in a helicopter.

Given the circumstances of the blazing blizzard, the tourists survived and were even given props for having survived the treacherous weather conditions. The rescue team says that it was the “most challenging weather this year” and that it really was a lucky situation for these tourists to have lived when really it could have gone any other way.