Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 11:01 UK

Scots glen SOS picked up in USA

Graphic showing USA and UK
The text was picked up thousands of miles away in the USA

A distress signal sent by a Danish hill walker from a Scottish glen was picked up in Texas, before being relayed back to Highlands police.

The rescue in Glen Etive, near Fort William, was sparked by an emergency beacon the size of a TV remote control.

Neils Vinter, who felt unwell, sent a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) text, which was picked up 4,000 miles away.

A Royal Navy helicopter from Prestwick, Ayrshire, flew him to hospital.

The multi-national, inter-agency rescue began at 0300 BST on Monday.

The 60-year-old, who lives in Sunderland and was attempting a coast-to-coast trek across Scotland, pressed an emergency button on his device when suffered acute abdominal pain.

Excellent cooperation

His text detected by security and communications firm GEOS's emergency response centre in Houston, Texas, which alerted Northern Constabulary's Fort William Police Station, 15 miles from where the walker was located.

Officers contacted Northern's force operations centre in Inverness for clarification before the RAF Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at Kinloss, in Moray, was contacted.

The RAF team, who co-ordinate the UK's search and rescue helicopters, scrambled a Royal Navy Sea King from Prestwick.

Mr Vinter was taken to Belford Hospital at Fort William where he has been receiving treatment.

Rescue co-ordinator Flt Sgt Tim Dickinson said: "This was a perfect example of excellent cooperation between the police at Fort William and the military search and rescue services."

Northern Constabulary said: "The system means that the monitoring company call local police.

"An operator at Fort William Police Station got the call and was given the digital co-ordinates in relation to the man's location.

"The operator then contacted the force operations centre in Inverness for clarification and the call was then put through to RAF Kinloss."

GEOS monitors the global mobile phone and satellite market and offers services for users of GPS-equipped mobile/cell-phones, satellite phones and other GPS-equipped devices.


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