CENTUM has announced that its Lifeseeker mobile phone detection system for manned and unmanned aircraft has now been used on over 100 successful Search and Rescue (SAR) missions in the past 12 months alone.
Lifeseeker enables SAR operators to locate people quickly and accurately, saving lives and optimizing operational costs. It does so by treating mobile phones as beacons, meaning the only requirement is that the phone is turned on. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a network, or for the owner to be able to use it.
Héctor Estévez, CEO of CENTUM, said, “Our job is to help save lives by enabling SAR teams to find casualties quickly and efficiently. We know there is a direct correlation between rescue time and survival rates, so anything that reduces the rescue time is good. This is not just hypothetical: it is very clear that using Lifeseeker can be a lifesaver.”
Real-life examples of Lifeseeker’s use:
- An injured hiker in the Italian Alps called the emergency services and was then out of contact. The SAR team initiated a helicopter-based visual search for the victim but was unable to find him for eight hours. Lifeseeker was then deployed, which enabled the team to find the victim’s mobile phone, and therefore the victim, in under 10 minutes.
- In Germany, an elderly person with dementia was reported missing by the family. In this instance, Lifeseeker was deployed immediately on the SAR mission. The system located the person within 20 minutes.
- An SAR team used Lifeseeker to locate a missing skier’s phone within a few minutes and to within a few meters, at which point the SAR team was able to find the victim buried in an avalanche. It would have been impossible to find the person so quickly without Lifeseeker.
Estévez said, “These examples show just how valuable Lifeseeker is. Importantly, it is also very easy to use. All it needs is an airborne hardware unit that is simple to integrate into the aircraft and a PC or tablet for the operator to use to find the missing person’s phone.”
Following extensive testing and authorizations, Lifeseeker is now being used by more than 30 SAR operators throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Users include the Royal Canadian Air Force, REGA, the Swiss Air Force, and the Vigili del Fuoco. And the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security recently selected Lifeseeker following a highly competitive bidding process.