New Carlisle man in boating accident says Apple Watch ‘SOS’ feature may have saved his life

A New Carlisle man is crediting his smartwatch for helping him and two others get to safety after they were injured in a boating accident.

NEW CARLISLE — A New Carlisle man is crediting his smartwatch for helping him and two others get to safety after they were injured in a boating accident.

It happened June 13 while he was on vacation at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.

News Center 7’s Monica Castro spoke with the man who said he was able to use his Apple Watch to send out an SOS.

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Darren Paul, 32, said he wasn’t even going to buy the smartwatch, until the salesperson talked him into the upgrade. And now he’s so grateful that he made that investment.

As Darren Paul left the marina ready to explore this lake in Kentucky, he never imagined it would be the opposite of smooth sailing.

“There was a submerged stump underwater and the right drive hit the stump and ripped the right drive out of the boat,” he said.

Before Paul knew it, they were all airborne.

“The boat ejected all three of us. Flipped over on top of us. Shattered, probably, into a thousand pieces.”

The only thing that didn’t sink was a chair.

“We were all on the seat waiting for someone to come by. We waited 30 minutes and no one came by,” Paul said.

As minutes passed by and survival mode kicked in, Paul remembered that special function on his Apple Watch.

(STEVE MAGUIRE / STAFF)

“This is the emergency SOS. You slide that to the right,” he said. “If you hit this, the SOS button, it will send a distress signal.”

The signal came across the cellphones of nearby boaters.

“They said they had a distress signal on their phones and that someone was in trouble,” he said.

Those unknown boaters were able to get them back to safety and in the hands of paramedics.

“I have four broken ribs on this side, torn cartilage and then a torn muscle from by bellybutton around to my back and a broken toe,” he said, as well as other injuries.

“We shouldn't have been alive from the accident and without Apple I don’t know that we would have.”

As Paul recovers from his injuries, he’s thankful for this watch that gave him more time with his family.

“My 1½-year-old climbs on me and it hurts so bad but I just sit there and cry because I’m thankful that it hurts,” he said.

Paul said that he emailed Apple to share his appreciation.