I'm trying to collect recent (e.g., since 1980 or so) cases where signal mirrors were successfully used to rescue people. I've appended the solid ones I have from the last five years.

If anyone knows of ones I missed (back to 1980 or so), please post in this thread. (or send me a private message, if you are shy). Please include any details that might help me convince a skeptical reader of their authenticity.

If you can point to a newspaper article with enough specificity that I can get a copy by interlibrary loan, that would be great. The date, number of people involved, type of mirror and aiming method, group signaled to, and reason electronic signaling was unsuccessful, are all of interest.

To my mind, avoiding trouble in the first place, and having electronic signaling that does work, are priorities ahead of the signal mirror, but since the mirrors fascinate me, and seem to have been neglected, I thought I'd pull the information together.

Recent Signal Mirror Rescues

Here are 4 documented cases from the last five years where
(a total of) eight people were carrying signal mirrors and did use
them to get rescued. I've also included the reported reasons
why their electronic signaling devices failed them.
Obviously, precluding the electronic failures would have
worked out better for them.

Two lost hikers signal a National Guard helicopter in Colorado
(Cell phones left at campsite)

One injured hiker signals an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter
(satellite phone taken out by fall that broke his knee)

Three boaters adrift in the Gulf of Mexico signal a passing ship
(drifted out of cell phone range, no VHF radio)

Two stranded boaters signal a NYPD helicopter
(Cell phones out of charge)

======= older, but notable =============
Five youths stuck in snow signal rescue aircraft in Washington State

Edited by rafowell (03/28/10 05:35 AM)
Edit Reason: added 1989 incident
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)