JACKSON (WNE) — Rescuers hiked 14 miles in and out of Alaska Basin around 4 a.m. Friday to find a woman who didn’t realize she had accidentally activated her emergency device.
Teton County Search and Rescue was alerted after the 51-year-old Teton Valley, Idaho, woman’s inReach device sent out an alert for help.
Air Idaho flew over the location late Thursday night and saw lights flashing that they took for a distress signal, Teton County Undersheriff Matt Carr said.
“Because of the smoke and terrain they were unable to land,” Carr said. “But they saw lights so we sent a team in.”
The woman who owns the device was not answering on her Delorme inReach Explorer, and officers were unable to get in touch with the woman’s emergency contacts who were registered to her device.
“We made contact with her, and she had the beacon in her sleeping bag and had accidentally activated it,” Carr said.
The woman had no idea she had activated her device or had received messages back inquiring about her emergency.
A separate group nearby had an LED fence around their llamas, which is what Air Idaho mistook for a distress signal from above through the smoke.
Carr said the woman’s device was an older model.
“As a search and rescue community, we need to demand a little bit more out of these device systems,” Carr said. “Once you activate your device maybe a beep should alarm so you know you’ve put a request out.”