Snowboarder says Emergency SOS on iPhone saved his life when he fell into a crevice

In short: The Apple iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature saved a life after a man fell 15 feet into a hidden crevice while snowboarding at 10,000 feet in the Swiss Alps.

BBC reports that 41-year-old Briton Tim Blakey – an experienced snowboarder with 17 years of experience – fell into a hole when the snow crumbled under him. He would have fallen even lower if not for the fragile snow bridge that Blakey landed on.

Beware of Hidden Holes When Snowboarding

What’s even worse for a personal trainer is that his iPhone battery has 3% left. Luckily, he had a battery booster in his backpack, but he had to move “very, very carefully to get it off and out.” There was also a problem when the screen was covered with ice and snow. So he decided to use the device’s Emergency SOS feature instead of trying to scroll through a wet display.

Blakey knew that Emergency SOS could be activated with five presses of the iPhone’s power button. It automatically called local emergency services, relayed his exact location and reported his emergency contacts.

“I had a 3G connection there, but I needed it [the iPhone] long enough for them to find me. It took 20 minutes before I contacted the emergency services and they told me not to move,” he explained.

It took 45 minutes of being trapped in the crevasse before rescue volunteer Michael Schwarzl, who received a text giving the snowboarder’s whereabouts, led a rescue team that found Blakey and called a helicopter through the air.

Blakey thanked Schwarzl and Apple in an Instagram post, praising the usefulness of the Emergency SOS feature, especially “when water is constantly dripping on your screen.”

In 2019, the Emergency SOS feature saved a woman from an attempted sexual assault. It was also used through the Apple Watch to save the life of a swimmer who fell through the ice last year.

Head credit: Felipe Giacometti

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