Apple Watch Saves Skater Who Fell Through the Ice

William Rogers Ice Skater saved by Apple Watch Credit: WMUR
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A tech school teacher and experienced ice skater in New Hampshire recently found out just how useful an Apple Watch can be when — rather ironically — he fell through into an icy river, with nothing to come to his rescue except for his Apple Watch.

As reported by local news channel WMUR, William Rogers was out skating on the Salmon Falls River in Somersworth last Sunday when the ice broke, and he found himself very suddenly in the water.

It was just that terrible feeling. ‘Oh my God. I’m going in the water.’

William Rogers

Rogers was no stranger to the ice, having reportedly been ice skating for his entire life, so he initially attempted to “walrus up” onto the ice, knowing that he needed to get out of the freezing water as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the ice kept breaking underneath him, leaving him effectively stuck.

He ended up being stuck in the water for several minutes, unable to reach his iPhone to call for help while trying to figure out his options and avoid panicking as hypothermia began to set in. Finally, he realized that he was wearing his Apple Watch, so he immediately used it to call 911 and summon help.

Rogers reported his situation to the dispatcher, adding that he “probably had 10 minutes before I was not gonna be able to respond anymore.” A rescue crew of firefighters arrived on the scene within about five minutes and were able to throw him a line to pull him out of the icy waters.

As WMUR noted, Rogers’ glove was still on the ice next to the hole that he fell into when a news crew visited the site on Monday, and Rogers credits both the Apple Watch and the firefighters for saving his life, although Somersworth Fire Chief George Kramlinger lauded Rogers’ levelheadedness in the face of a crisis.

(He) kept his wits about him. He remained calm, and he did what he had to do to ensure his survival.

Chief George Kramlinger, Somersworth Fire Department

However, Kramlinger also added that this time of year it’s very dangerous to go out on the ice at all, and that even very experienced ice skaters like Rogers should assume that “no ice is safe.”

Rogers’ situation is just the latest in a long list of stories of how the Apple Watch is saving and improving lives, from the emergency communications features that Rogers used to call 911 to the heart-monitoring features that often alert users to conditions they didn’t even know existed.

In fact, this isn’t the first case we’ve heard of the Apple Watch saving someone from drowning, in Rogers’ case it was even more of a critical factor, since simply treading water and waiting for help wouldn’t have been an option in the freezing waters. Similarly, a story earlier this year revealed how an Apple Watch saved a man who fell into a raging river, summoning help while he was clinging to a tree to keep from being swept away by the currents.

The most important benefit of the Apple Watch in cases like these is that it’s readily accessible on your wrist, and you’re also far likely to lose it in an emergency. In Rogers’ case, his iPhone was still in his pocket, but he had no way of reaching it without letting go of his grip on the ice, as was also the case with a man who summoned help from his Apple Watch while hanging off the edge of a cliff.

Note that you can even place an emergency call from your Apple Watch using Siri: saying “Hey Siri, Call 911” will connect you with emergency services after a five-second countdown.

This is another important reason to buy a cellular Apple Watch — even if you don’t plan to pay for service, as U.S. laws require that all mobile devices be capable of calling 911 regardless of whether they’re activated on a cellular plan or not. Spending a few bucks more on the cellular-capable Apple Watch model will easily be worth it if it ends up saving your life someday.

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