An Apple Watch-wearing kitesurfer claims the device saved his life after he got stranded off the California coast in shark-infested waters.
John Zilles, 49, crashed while riding a hydrofoil, and was left unable to relaunch his kite. Thankfully, he was able to use the cellular capabilities of his new Apple Watch Series 3 to call the Coast Guard.
“I was out learning to foil on a light wind, and was cruising along, proud of myself, and realized I was quite a way offshore,’ Zilles told the Daily Mail. “I had a huge wipeout, and my hydrofoil skated away from me. As I was swimming away, my kite fell down, and because it was a calm day so I couldn’t get it to fly again. Suddenly I was a mile offshore and my ride was over.”
After spending 20 minutes attempting to get his kite to fly again, Zilles decided to start swimming to shore, which he says was easier said than done due to the large amount of gear he had with him.
Checking his Apple Watch for the time, Zilles then remembered that the LTE-enabled Series 3 model can also make phone calls.
“I was really surprised that I had a strong signal, so I called my kids, and said, ‘Don’t worry, I crashed and I’m swimming to shore, and will be home late. I then called my son back, and asked him to send me the number of the Coast Guard, just in case.”
His son sent the number, and Zilles — starting to freak out about the prospect of great white sharks in the area — called the Coast Guard to alert them of his situation. He stayed on the line to explain his exact location to the crew of the rescue boat dispatched to help him.
Zilles says that he was so impressed by the Apple Watch’s capabilities that he wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook to tell him the story, and got a “short but sweet” reply, saying, “Wow. Happy to hear you are safe.”