Survival Stories of COSPAS/ SARSAT Assisted Rescues

First Satellite-Aided Rescue

September 1982 - A young couple's plane had disappeared in British Columbia nearly two months before. The Canadian government mounted an extensive search costing almost two million dollars before it was called off. The young man's father, however, continued the search with a pilot and a friend in a private plane. 

During the search, the plane crashed, injuring and stranding the three occupants amid 50-foot trees and 7,000-foot mountains. Their ELT signals were intercepted by the Soviet COSPAS 1 satellite as it passed overhead and repeated to the Trenton Ontario Air Rescue Station, which determined the crash location. The Victoria Rescue Coordination Center dispatched a search aircraft to locate the individuals, who were within 22.5 km (13.9 mi) of the calculated crash site. 

The father, pilot, and friend were the first persons to be rescued with the aid of a satellite.

RESCUE Totals as of August 31, 2016

Worldwide - 39,000+ persons rescued (since 1982)

United States - 7,984 persons rescued (since 1982)


For 2016, the United States has recorded 244 Cospas-Sarsat rescues to date

During 2015, the United States recorded 250 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2014, the United States recorded 240 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2013, the United States recorded 261 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2012, the United States recorded 263 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2011, the United States recorded 207 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2010, the United States recorded 295 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2009, the United States recorded 195 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2008, the United States recorded 283 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2007, the United States recorded 353 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2006, the United States recorded 272 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2005, the United States recorded 222 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2004, the United States recorded 163 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2003, the United States recorded 224 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2002, the United States recorded 171 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2001, the United States recorded 121 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 2000, the United States recorded 205 Cospas-Sarsat rescues

During 1999, the United States recorded 309 Cospas-Sarsat rescues