February 6, 2019 3:05 pm
Updated: February 7, 2019 8:17 am

Scottish ‘hermit’ living off the grid rescued after SOS signal picked up in Texas

An elderly man who lives off the grid in a remote forest in the Scottish Highlands was rescued after falling ill, and his distress signal was picked up thousands of kilometres away, across the ocean in Texas.

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team via Facebook
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An elderly man who lives off the grid in a remote forest in the Scottish Highlands was rescued after falling ill, and his distress signal was picked up thousands of kilometres away, across the ocean in Texas.

According to U.K’s HM Coastguard, the man in his mid-70s, known to locals as the “Hermit of Loch Treig,” normally triggers a “check-in” beacon of sorts once a week to let his family and friends know that he’s alive and well.

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However, on Sunday the man triggered an SOS, signifying he needed urgent assistance. The SOS was picked up by the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Houston. Authorities in Texas immediately relayed the message to HM Coastguard in Scotland Sunday evening.

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“The dilemma for HM Coastguard’s MCC and the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre was whether the SOS function [had] been used accidentally when the gentleman simply intended to check in with family and friends as usual,” the coastguard said in a statement. “Without any other means to get in contact with the man to find out if the SOS was intentional or not, HM Coastguard decided to send the Prestwick Coastguard helicopter to the man’s remote Scottish cabin to check if he was OK.”

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

According to the Telegraph, the hermit, also known as Ken Smith, built a cabin in the sticks in the mid-‘80s, telling locals he’s not a fan of cities or “normal life.”

The coastguard located the man, who did, in fact, need urgent medical assistance.

“The helicopter was unable to winch close enough to the man’s cabin so Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team were called in to help move the casualty to a more suitable location for winching,” the coastguard said.

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The hermit was placed on a stretcher and air-lifted out of the woods, then taken to a hospital via land ambulance.

“This is an excellent result thanks to the vigilance of our MCC and ARCC not putting it down to an ordinary check alert,” HM Coastguard controller Neil Blewett said in a statement. “In this case, the man’s activation of his beacon, the satellites and the SPOT beacon itself saved his life because without any of those we would not have known he needed urgent help.”

According to the Telegraph, the man is in “stable condition” and “wants to be left alone.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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