Apple Watch is an excellent swim tracker since it got stronger water resistance and water workouts with Series 2 – the device has since become an indispensable swimming companion and kind of lifeguard. That’s what happened in Oregon last week when first responders were able to rescue a trapped swimmer who called 911 from her Apple Watch.
Apple Watch SOS
A woman who swam in the Columbia River became trapped in 56-degree water when her foot got stuck in rocks, according to a police report from Dalles, Oregon. Police say the woman was nearly exhausted and showed signs of hypothermia when she was rescued.
“The swimmer said she was caught in the river for more than 30 minutes and made the emergency call from her Apple Watch,” the report said.
Apple Watch includes a SOS feature that allows users to call emergency services by pressing and holding the side button for a few seconds. SOS and calling requires a Apple Watch which supports cellular and active plan to work without the user’s iPhone nearby.
When first responders arrived on the scene, they tried to give the ailing swimmer a ladder while prying apart the rocks that were holding her foot. The rescue attempt failed.
Officer Reams assessed the scene and determined that the swimmer’s rescue had to be immediate, and that he could only assist in the rescue by entering the water to feel how the entrapment occurred, as the water was too murky and fast. to allow for any visible inspection from above,” the police report said.
“Officer Reams left his ballistic vest and service belt on the shore and cautiously entered the water downstream of the swimmer,” the report continues. “Agent Reams reached under the water and could barely reach the swimmer’s foot. Only Agent Reams’ head was not submerged. Agent Reams was able to free the swimmer’s trapped foot and take her to shore and attend to firefighters.”
Newer iPhones are splash-proof, but Apple Watches are suitable for use while swimming and swimming in open water. The odds of going swimming with your iPhone on purpose is slim and the form factor of the watch encourages use in such scenarios.
This story has a happy ending thanks to the Apple Watch be able to call 911, but it was still an extremely dangerous situation when first responders arrived. If help was called out later (or not at all), the incident could have turned out very differently.
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