Apple Watch automatically calls 911 during stranded hikers' 'life or death' situation

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

When James Prudenciano recently purchased an Apple Watch, he likely had no idea the device would save his life just days later. But that’s exactly what happened when the watch automatically made an emergency call after a routine afternoon went wrong.

Prudenciano, 28, was hiking a mountain trail in a New Jersey county park with a companion, when the pair unexpectedly ran into trouble.

“I can’t even explain it,” he told Fox News. “We ended up just falling into a situation. It got dark and we couldn’t find our way back.”

Prudenciano noted that they attempted to get back on track, but vines kept them from finding the trail. From there, things quickly became worse. Prudenciano’s hiking partner slipped, “and I ended up following after her,” he recalled.

“At the time that we went down, we actually decided to slide to the bottom of this mountain to try to get off. And when we slid, we ended up on a cliff,” he elaborated. He noted that he could not accurately say how high the cliff was, but that it was “life or death.”

The slide down to the cliff was a rough one: “She ended up holding onto a branch and dangling over [the ledge], and I ended up stopping before.”

Unbeknownst to the pair, that bumpy slide set off an emergency feature on Prudenciano’s new watch, sending a message asking if he’d taken a fall. “I had absolutely no idea that this watch was even doing what it was doing,” the hiker said.

Since he did not reply to the message, the watch automatically called 911, leading to the couple’s ultimate rescue.

Prudenciano suffered lingering injuries from the incident, resulting in the use of a back brace, which makes it uncomfortable for him to sit for interviews. However, he’s sharing his story in hopes it will help others who might not know that their devices have such safety features.

“I definitely didn’t,” he admitted.

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