Apple Watch saves swimmer trapped in rocks

A woman who became trapped while swimming in a river has been rescued after she alerted emergency services with 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 got stuck in rocks.

“The swimmer said she was caught in the river for more than 30 minutes and made the emergency call from her Apple Watch,” a police report said.

“The swimmer showed signs of hypothermia and she was clearly in distress… The Columbia River was extremely high due to ongoing rain 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 lineup in 2016 to provide wearers with health and exercise data during swim workouts and other water-based activities.

A feature called SOS also allows users to press and hold a button to initiate a call to the local emergency line and retrieve the user’s medical records.

The full police report detailed the rescue, with Officer Kanyon Reams entering the river to rescue the unnamed swimmer.

It stated: “Officer Reams assessed the scene of the accident and determined that the swimmer’s rescue was to be immediate, and that he could only assist the rescue by entering the water to feel how the entrapment occurred, as the water is too murky and fast to allow any visible inspection from above.

Agent Reams (left) rescued trapped swimmer from Oregon’s Columbia River on June 15, 2022

(City of Police of Dalles)

“Officer Reams left his ballistic vest and service belt on the shore and carefully entered the water downstream from the swimmer. Officer Reams reached underwater and could just reach the swimmer’s foot. Only Agent Reams’ head was not submerged. Agent Reams was able to free the swimmer’s trapped foot and take her to shore and attend to firefighters. †

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