A Breitling Emergency Transmitter watch has helped save a man who was stranded in Alaska after he was parted from his team while hunting and became hypothermic.
Mark Spencer had been hunting grizzly bears in August and was about 120 miles north-east of Anchorage when he and his companions became stuck along the Sisitna river, which sits in the heart of the Alaska Range.
Spencer and his group were unable to navigate the Class 6 rapids of the Susitna River and the party instead diverted the course of their boat to the Tyone River, which later proved too shallow for their boat.
Spencer left the group to search for help but with the river already turning icy his boat was struck and sunk. He spent more than 48 hours in the elements of the Alaska backcountry before managing to activate the timepiece’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).
Breitling says that he had trekked up a frozen part of the Susitna River but was left hypothermic and “near death”. A rescue crew was able to pinpoint his location and lift him to safety by helicopter after they picked up the distress signal.
Spencer said: “Breitling is the number one piece of equipment I always bring with me. Even if I lose everything, I will always have my watch. That gives me and my family peace of mind.”
The timepiece features a micro-transmitter broadcasting on the 121.5 MHz aircraft emergency frequency. The transmitter is activated by unscrewing a protective cap and extending a short antenna. Despite the small size of the watch, the signal range is comparable to traditional hand-held Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and can broadcast for 48 hours.
Thierry Prisser, president of Breitling USA, said: “It brings Breitling great pleasure to hear about this kind of customer satisfaction. We’re hoping from now on he only has to use his watch to tell time.”