Apple Watch saves swimmer trapped in rocks

Police say swimmer was showing signs of hypothermia after 30 minutes stuck in 13C water

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 23 June 2022 15:18
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A woman swimming in the Columbia River in Oregon used her Apple Watch to call for help after her foot became trapped in rocks

A woman who became trapped while swimming in a river has been rescued after alerting emergency services using her smartwatch.

Police in The Dalles, Oregon, reported that a woman swimming in the Columbia River called 911 from her Apple Watch after her foot became caught in rocks.

“The swimmer advised that she had been caught in the river for over 30 minutes, and that she had made the emergency call from her Apple Watch,” a police report stated.

“The swimmer was showing signs of hypothermia and she was in obvious distress... The Columbia River was extremely high due to continual rains, and there are areas of flooding in the city. The water temperature of the river was 56 degrees (13C).”

Apple first introduced water resistance to its smartwatch series in 2016 to provide wearers with health and exercise data during swimming workouts and other water-based activites.

A feature called SOS also allows users to hold down a button to initiate a call to the local emergency line and pull up the user’s medical details.

The full police report described the rescue, involving Officer Kanyon Reams entering the river to save the unnamed swimmer.

It stated: “Officer Reams assessed the scene and determined that the rescue of the swimmer needed to be immediate, and that he would be able to aid in the rescue only by entering the water to feel how the entrapment was occurring, since the water was too murky and fast to allow any visible inspection from above.

Officer Reams (left) rescued the trapped swimmer from the Columbia River in Oregon on 15 June, 2022

“Officer Reams left his ballistic vest and duty belt on the shore and cautiously entered the water downstream of the swimmer. Officer Reams reached under the water and was just able to reach the swimmer’s foot. Only Officer Reams’ head was not submerged. Officer Reams was able to free the swimmer’s stuck foot and bring her to shore and the care of the fire fighters. “

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