Apple Watch has been a great swim tracker ever since it gained increased water resistance and aquatic workouts with the Series 2; Since then, the device has become a must-have swimming companion and lifesaver of sorts. That’s what happened in Oregon last week when first responders were able to rescue a trapped swimmer who called 911 from his Apple Watch.
apple watch SOS
A woman swimming in the Columbia River was trapped in 56-degree water when her foot got caught on rocks, according to a Dalles, Oregon police report. Police say the woman was nearly exhausted and showing signs of hypothermia when she was rescued.
“The swimmer reported that she had been trapped in the river for more than 30 minutes and had made the emergency call from her Apple watch,” the report says.
Apple Watch includes an SOS feature that allows users to call emergency services by pressing and holding the side button for a few seconds. SOS and making phone calls requires an Apple Watch that supports cellular data and an active plan to work without the user’s iPhone nearby.
When first responders arrived on the scene, they tried to provide the distraught swimmer with a ladder while they parted the rocks that trapped her foot. The rescue attempt was unsuccessful.
“Officer Reams assessed the scene and determined that the swimmer’s rescue needed to be immediate, and that he could assist in the rescue only by entering the water to feel for the entrapment, as the water was too cloudy and fast moving to allow any damage. inspection visible from above,” according to the police report.
“Officer Reams left his ballistic vest and duty belt on shore and cautiously entered the water downstream of the swimmer,” the report continues. “Officer Reams reached under the water and was barely able to reach the swimmer’s foot. Only Officer Reams’s head did not submerge. Officer Reams was able to free the swimmer’s stuck foot and get her to shore and in the care of firefighters.”
The 9to5Mac Take
Newer iPhones are splash resistant, but Apple Watches are rated for use during swimming in pools and open water. The probability of swimming with your iPhone by the way it’s slim, and the watch’s form factor encourages use in such scenarios.
This story has a happy ending thanks to the Apple Watch being able to call 911, but it was still an extremely dangerous situation when first responders arrived. Had help been called later (or not at all), the incident could have ended very differently.
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