January 29, 2003
Breitling Watch Helps Save Pilots
Two British adventurers who crashed their helicopter in the Antarctic Jan. 28 were located by Chilean rescuers via the transmitters inside their Breitling Emergency watches. Steven Brooks and Hugh Quentin-Smith were flying from Chile to Antarctica on the final leg of a pole-to-pole journey.
Brooks called his wife after he and Smith boarded an emergency dinghy following the crash, according to news reports. "While they were waiting for rescue, the two activated their Breitling Emergency watches which gave rescuers their location," says Lisa Roman, head of Breitling USA communications. Both men wore the watch, though the expedition was not connected to Breitling. A Chilean Otter aircraft honed in on the signals and located the stranded duo.
The watch, which Breitling introduced in the U.S. following Federal Aviation Administration approval in 1999, contains a microtransmitter which sends a signal on the international aviation distress frequency. Initially available to pilots only, it is now available to the general public. Each buyer must register with the FAA. In Europe, the watch has been linked to 17 rescues since its introduction there in 1995.
by Michael Thompson