NOAA touts satellites in 2013 rescues

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The same NOAA satellites that helped forecasters predict severe weather, such as the Moore, Okla., tornado last May and November’s deadly Midwest tornado outbreak, also played a key role in rescuing 253 people from potentially life-threatening scenarios throughout the United States and its surrounding waters last year.

A combination of NOAA polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites detected distress signals from emergency beacons carried by downed pilots, shipwrecked boaters and stranded hikers and relayed information about their location to first responders on the ground.

Of the 253 rescues, 139 were waterborne rescues, 34 were from aviation incidents and 80 were from events on land, where PLBs were used.

“Each life we save underscores the undeniable value of NOAA satellites,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. 

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