A German company has issued a recall notice on one of its avalanche transceiver models.
Ortovox said its 3+ models distributed after 17 October this year may have a fault and should be checked before use.
The transceivers, which are used when the carrier is buried in avalanche debris, may switch from the search mode to transmit mode unintentionally after 2 minutes use searching.
The company said it discovered the fault in a batch and, as a safety precaution, is recalling all devices shipped out to retailers after the given date.
Ortovox said: “The safety of our customers has been our top priority for over 33 years.
“Despite our continuously optimised quality-control measures, we have now discovered a scenario that has never occurred before in our [quality assurance] processes.
“Due to the use of a new motion sensor used for follow-up avalanche switchover, a safety-relevant mistake occurred in practice, despite successful function tests: the affected 3+ devices do not receive a sensor signal, despite motion, and hence incorrectly activate the follow-up avalanche switchover after 120 seconds without user intervention; ie they switch from search mode to transmission mode.
“Manual switching of the device to search mode allows the search to be continued. However, in serious cases, this defect can hinder or impair rescue measures.
“In case of burial, the secure transmission function of the device is still ensured with no limitations, despite this error.”
Time is of the essence in locating people buried under snow after an avalanche, and group members in the area would normally start a search immediately using a transceiver to try to find anyone buried under the debris.
The 3+ model was introduced by Ortovox in the 2010-11 winter season.
Anyone with a 3+ can check if their model is affected via the Ortovox website.
The company has also set up a phone helpline on +49 89 666 74 212; customers can also email the company for help.