A New Jersey man is crediting his newly purchased smartwatch for saving his life after he and a date fell from a cliff when they were lost.
James Prudenciano and his date, Paige Paruso, were walking through Hartshorne Woods Park in Northern Monmouth County last week when they got lost after nightfall, the 28-year-old told NJ 12. While walking through the darkness, the couple found a cliff they believed would lead to solid ground. But after attempting to slide down it, they were surprised to see there were only rocks and a river waiting for them below.
“We got to the bottom and that’s when it was life or death,” Prudenciano told WRBL. “I looked down and I noticed it was a straight drop to rocks and water.”
“We slid down to a dropoff,” he said to WTVD. “That was probably over 100 feet. I grabbed onto something and we locked up. My foot got jammed underneath a stump.”
Paruso fell from the ledge into the Navesink River and suffered a minor injury. Prudenciano fell soon after, landing on rocks that fractured his back in three places and left scratches all over his body.
During the incident, Prudenciano’s Apple Watch automatically dialed 911 for him and sent text messages to his mother that included his location.
“I just remember hearing, ‘911, what’s your emergency?’ and my Apple Watch started talking to me,” he recalled to WTVD.
Remarkably, Prudenciano only purchased the device two days before the trip.
“I was screaming that I’m going to die. I really felt I was going to die,” he told WRBL. “There was no way out of this for me. I literally said my last goodbyes.”
According to Apple, the Series 4 and Series 5 editions of the device have “Fall Detection,” a feature that automatically connects users to emergency services if the smartwatch detects a hard fall.
If the smartwatch detects that a user has been immobile for about a minute after falling, it will automatically make the call, the company said in a description on their website. After the call is made, the device will then deliver a message to the user’s emergency contacts with their location and notifying them of an accident. The company declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE.
The pair were eventually rescued by boat and taken to Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Despite the harrowing ordeal, Prudenciano still planned to spend time in nature.
“Even though it’s a horrible story that what happened,” he told WRBL. “It’s still something that I will always enjoy and always love. So, it’s not going to ever deter me.”
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