Story at a glance

  • A hiker broke his back in three places after falling off a cliff.
  • His watch, made by Apple, has a feature that automatically calls 911 if it detects a hard fall and its wearer doesn’t move for longer than a minute.
  • The New Jersey man credits the wearable tech with saving his life.

A New Jersey man says his smart watch saved his life.

James Prudenciano and Paige Paruso were hiking Hartshorne Woods Park in New Jersey. They got lost along the way and slid down a steep slope in an attempt to get back on track, New Jersey 12 reports. Their slide took them to the edge of a cliff high above a rock-strewn river. The slope was too steep to get back up, leaving them stuck precariously close to the edge.

The pair hung on as long as they could, but eventually Paruso dropped into the river, yelling back that she was hurt but not seriously. When Prudenciano, 28, took the plunge the damage was more serious: he had broken his back in three places.

Prudenciano was convinced he was going to die.

“I was literally saying my last goodbyes,” he told New Jersey 12. But his Apple Watch had just detected his “hard fall” and called 911.

Apple Watches, from the Series 4 model on, contain a feature that detects when the wearer takes a big fall and asks if they want to call for help. If the wearer lies motionless for longer than a minute the watch will automatically call 911 with the user’s GPS coordinates.

Help soon arrived and the hikers were picked up and taken to a hospital and treated for their injuries. During his ordeal, Prudenciano’s Apple watch even sent three text messages to alert his mother of the emergency.

Published on Nov 05, 2019