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Distress signal

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Distress signal
Shannon trying to translate the French message ("Pilot, Part 2")

Danielle Rousseau recorded a distress signal two months after her arrival on the Island.

On the day after the crash of Flight 815, a group of survivors took a transceiver from the cockpit and trekked to higher elevation in an attempt to call for rescue. Sayid managed to pick up the signal, and Shannon attempted to translate the French message. ("Pilot, Part 2") When Sayid was later captured by Rousseau, he discovered that she was the one who recorded the message. ("Solitary") Hurley later learned that Rousseau had changed the transmission at a radio tower on the Island, replacing the previous transmission, which broadcast the Numbers in a male voice over and over.

This original signal brought Rousseau and her team to the Island. The Sri Lanka Video says that the original signal was encrypted, (The Lost Experience) but in 1988, Sam Toomey and Leonard Simms (at a South Pacific listening station), and Rousseau's science expedition independently detected the broadcast of the numbers without encryption. ("Numbers")

At an unknown time after 1988, the Others began jamming the signal from the tower by using equipment located at the Looking Glass Station. The jamming seems to inhibit signals being received beyond the Island, but the signals can still be picked up locally. ("Greatest Hits")

When Rousseau deactivated the transmission of the distress signal on iteration 17550446 by ejecting the tape on Thursday, December 23, 2004, 90 days after Sayid et al. discovered the signal on Thursday, September 23, 2004, approximately 255,915 iterations had been broadcast. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")

French message

It seems Rousseau recorded several sightly different versions of her distress message, assuming that each time we hear "iteration #" there is another message. It's interesting to notice that Rousseau breathes a lot. The message seems to have been recorded in a panic situation with something (or someone) who had "killed them all" outside wherever she was. Below are the messages heard in "Pilot, Part 2". The full message can be heard in an Easter egg on the second DVD of season 1:


Iteration 17294530 : "Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci, ils sont morts. Veuillez nous aider. Je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au Rocher Noir. Il les a tués. Il les a tués tous."

Iteration 17294531 : "Il est dehors. il est dehors et Brennan a pris les clés. Veuillez nous aider. Ils sont morts. Ils sont tous morts. Aidez-nous. Ils sont morts."

Iteration 17294532 : "Il est dehors. Il est dehors et Brennan a pris les clés. Veuillez nous aider. Ils sont morts. Ils sont tous morts. Aidez-nous. Ils sont morts."

Iteration 17294533 : "Ils sont tous morts. Aidez-nous. Ils sont morts. Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci"

Iteration 17294534 : "Il est dehors. Veuillez nous aider. Veuillez nous aider."

Iteration 17294535 : "Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci, je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au Rocher Noir. Veuillez nous aider. Ils sont tous morts. Ils sont morts. Il les a tués. Ils les a tués tous. Je vais essayer d'aller jusqu'au Rocher Noir."


English translation

Iteration 17294530 : "If anybody can hear this, they are dead. Please help us. I'll try to make it to the Black Rock. It [or he] killed them. It [or he] killed them all."

Iteration 17294531 : "It [or he] is outside. It [or he] is outside and Brennan took the keys. Please help us. They are dead. They are all dead. Help us. They are dead."

Iteration 17294532 : "It [or he] is outside. It [or he] is outside and Brennan took the keys. Please help us. They are dead. They are all dead. Help us. They are dead."

Iteration 17294533 : "They are all dead. Help us. They are dead. If anybody can hear this—"

Iteration 17294534 : "It [or he] is outside. Please help us. Please help us !"

Iteration 17294535 : "If anybody can hear this, I'll try to make it to the Black Rock. Please help us ! They are all dead. They are dead. It [or he] killed them. It [or he] killed them all. I'll try to make it to the Black Rock."


Shannon's translation

I'm alone now. Uhm … On the island alone. Please, someone come. The others, they're … they're dead. I-it killed them. I-it killed them all.

Second signal

In "The Long Con", Sayid and Hurley receive another signal, a broadcast from WXR radio. Before that, they hear another message from Rousseau. The message is somewhat similar to Rousseau's initial plea for help.

French message

"Il faut nous aider." "... aller jusqu'au Rocher Noir"

English translation

"You must help us." "... make it to the Black Rock"


Other facts

  • Sayid estimated that Rousseau's message has been playing on a loop for approximately 16 years.
  • According to Rousseau's account:
    • The distress signal replaced a previous loop transmission of the Numbers.
    • The distress signal was recorded by Rousseau herself and is transmitted from a radio tower near the Black Rock.
    • The radio tower is now controlled by the Others. This turned out to be false.
  • When Sayid tries to triangulate the signal, just before the radio was smashed, the screen displayed full signal strength. This may be because of the radio tower's strength, or because they were very, very close.
  • Rousseau's distress signal was being transmitted unjammed for a few minutes before being switched off to allow the satellite phone connection at the end of Season 3.

In The Lost Experience

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Distress signal/Theories
  • Who recorded the original transmission repeating the Numbers over and over?
  • What were the keys for?

See also

  • Transmission - A list of some other transmissions and signals in Lost.


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