Eighteen Mexicans had been enjoying a diving holiday on a deserted coral island in the Indonesian archipelago when their chartered boat, the Sea Safari III, hit a reef in the middle of the night and began taking on water. The divers decided to abandon ship, take to their lifeboats and head for the nearby island of Mainyaifun, one of nearly 10,000 islands in the region.
Prior to abandoning ship the divers had attempted to report their location (GPS coordinates) to their homeport of Sorong, only to discover that their VHF radio was out of range. No one could hear their distress call.
There was no reason for anyone to begin looking for them as they weren’t expected back for another 5 days. They faced an uncertain future with just emergency supplies salvaged from the Sea Safari III. The situation looked grim. They had no other means of communication, or so they thought at the time.
Fortunately, one of the divers had recently purchased the new iSatphone pro satellite phone manufactured by Inmarsat just days before leaving on the dive vacation. When the order to abandon ship came he insisted on returning to his cabin to get the satellite voice phone and some other valuables. He had bought the phone in order to stay in touch with work, not thinking for a minute that it would be instrumental for an emergency rescue.
The satellite voice phone enabled the divers to contact the mainland and report their position. They later enjoyed the good fortune of another diving party that just happened upon the same island as they were awaiting rescue.
Safely back home, the IsatPhone Pro owner had this to say: “All the divers on that boat learned a valuable lesson from this voyage – a satellite phone could very well be the tool that saves your life in one of these situations. When you’re in an unknown, uninhabited location with no way to contact the outside world, it can mean the difference between life and death.”