Cyclist Swept Into River Calls 999 From Apple Watch

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Lucky escape. Man uses Apple Watch to alert emergency services, after he was swept off his bike in Herefordshire and into flooded river

A cyclist in Herefordshire had a lucky escape when he was reportedly swept off his bike and into the flooded River Wye in Rotherwas.

The man was carried a mile downstream, but managed to grab hold of a branch and used his Apple Watch to dial 999 and speak to fire control at the emergency services, the BBC reported.

This is not the first time that the Apple Watch has been credited with saving lives. As far back as September 2019, Apple was touting the life-saving capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 5.

Flooded river

The BBC reported that the fire brigade managed to rescue the cyclist within 20 minutes of the call.

Station commander Sean Bailey told the BBC that the cyclist was “lucky” to have kept hold of the branch, adding: “We’re very surprised he didn’t lose his grip.”

Commander Bailey reportedly said the cyclist was spotted by passers-by who were able to give crews a sense of where he was.

“Even with that location it still took us 20 minutes to locate him and rescue him and bring him to safety,” he reportedly said. “He was speaking to our fire control whilst he was clinging onto a tree, via his Apple watch, which worked wonderfully well for us to actually get to him as quickly as possible.”

The cyclist was reportedly rescued about one mile from where he went into the river, and Commander Bailey added he was “very quickly swept into the fast-flowing” part of the river.”

“Our guys are very well trained for this sort of event, but we can’t replicate those situations, the high river levels that you get when it’s in full flood,” he reportedly said.

He said even strong swimmers would have struggled in the conditions.

“He is a very lucky man to have been able to get hold of a branch and then spend probably 20 minutes in the water whilst he’s clinging onto that branch, we’re very surprised he didn’t lose his grip,” he reportedly said. “It’s one of those things where your natural instincts, adrenaline, kicks in in order to be rescued.”

Life saving

When Apple launched the Series 5 Watch back in 2019, the firm made a point about the device’s ability to call emergency services around the world.

Apple’s introduction video even provided the example of one man in the US who noticed his heart rate had spiked and showed he was suffering a heart attack.

When he fell to the floor, his Apple Watch called the emergency services and then his wife.

It should noted that the Series 5 Watch included the normal fall detection, as well as an improved emergency SOS option that has been expanded internationally, so Watch owners can contact the emergency services (even without an iPhone) in 150 countries.

Users can just press and holding down side button to make an emergency call.

Pricing for the latest Apple Watch Series 6, launched in September 2020, starts at just £379.

The Watch Series 6 can now measure blood oxygen levels to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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