Apple Watch’s fall detection feature calls 911 after man falls off cliff

Thanks to his Apple Watch, James Prudenciano and his friend, Paige Paruso were rescued after a dangerous fall down a cliff in the Hartshorne Woods Park in Middletown, New Jersey.

It was late, getting dark and tough to see, as 28-year-old Prudenciano and his hiking companion got lost in the woods. As they were attempting to make their way out thinking they were sliding down a short drop off, it turned out to be over  a 100 foot drop. And as he was tumbling down he could see the rocks and waters of the Navesink River below.

A couple of days before the hike, Prudenciano purchased an Apple Watch. As he was checking out the wearable’s features, he turned on the ‘Fall Detection’ feature.

 Apple Watch’s Series 4 or later with the fall detection feature will detect when you fall while you are wearing your watch. When you fall, it will tap you on your wrist then sound an alarm and then will display an alert. If you do not respond after a minute, your watch will automatically call 911 for medical emergency services. 

After that is done, then your watch will call your personal emergency contacts to let them know you have had a hard fall and also your location, as well as letting them know emergency services have been contacted.

That is exactly what happened in Prudenciano’s fall incident. 

After emergency services were contacted, Prudenciano’s mother and sister were both alerted. At first they really had no idea what the text message meant and did not understand what was going on. However, his mother decided she should go to the location that was given her in the text she received. When she reached the park, she found that rescuers were already at the site rescuing her son and his friend.

Prudenciano’s and Paruso were both taken to a hospital. Prudenciano had three fractures in his back, a fracture in his right hand and in one of his feet.  Paruso fortunately was not seriously hurt.

While recalling the incident, Prudenciano remembers after landing on the rocks, hearing his Apple Watch saying: ‘911, what’s your emergency?’ and then he says his smartwatch started talking to him.

The Apple Watch’s Fall Detection feature is defaulted to the ‘off’ position if you are younger than 65 years of age. It is necessary to manually turn it on if you are younger. It’s a good thing that Prudencianoturned it on before the start of his hike through the woods.

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