Apple Watch, iPhone make headlines for saving 3 people from death — how they did it

Apple Watch and iPhone
Apple Watch and iPhone (Image credit: Apple)

Not all heroes wear capes — some flaunt a controversial display notch (I'm lookin' at you, iPhone) while others sport a sleek, squircle face (ahem, Apple Watch). Over the past couple of weeks, an iPhone 11 Pro and two Apple Watches saved three people from precarious situations, giving them a second chance at life.

While the Apple Watches saved their owners by sending out alerts and warning messages, the iPhone 11 Pro played more of a bodyguard role, using its chassis to thwart an incoming, dangerous projectile from penetrating its owner. Curious about how, exactly, these iProducts rescued three people? Read on!

The iPhone 11 Pro who saved a Ukrainian soldier

9to5Mac reported that a viral video hit Twitter and Reddit over the weekend, claiming that an "iPhone 13 Pro" took credit for thwarting a bullet from piercing a Ukrainian soldier. Hawk-eyed commenters, however, pointed out that the phone is not an iPhone 13 Pro — it's an iPhone 11 Pro.

Pulling his shattered phone out of a vest pocket, the Ukrainian soldier boasted that his device protected him suffering the impact of a bullet. However, because there isn't any footage of the incident, it's difficult to verify whether the iPhone was, indeed, responsible for saving the soldier's life. Some skeptics say that a steel plate situated behind the iPhone, not the iPhone itself, protected the soldier from harm.

If by some miraculous feat the iPhone 11 Pro did, indeed, manage to stymie the bullet from penetrating the soldier, you have to admit that it would make quite the wartime story for the iPhone-owning Ukrainian soldier.

The Apple Watch saved a woman from a deadly tumor

"It truly saved my life!" Kim Durkee said, praising her Apple Watch for alerting her of a life-threatening health condition that could have taken her life if she remained unaware of it.

Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7 (Image credit: Apple)

According to CBS News, in late May, Durkee's Apple Watch woke her up, alerting her that her heart was in atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the beat of the upper chambers (atria) is "off tempo," so to speak, with the lower chambers (ventricle). Duke said that she didn't take the initial warnings seriously — until the third night of alerts shook her to act.

"The numbers went a little too high for comfort," Durkee said. "Then I said, 'You know what? Go to the emergency room. If they tell you it's nothing to worry about, then toss the watch!'"

As it turned out, the Apple Watch had sound reasons for disseminating alerts to Durkee. Her heart was beating irregularly because she was suffering from myxoma, rapid-growing, rare tumor that was hindering her heart's blood supply. If she didn't act in time, it would have caused a stroke.

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch 7 (Image credit: Future)

On June 27, Durkee underwent surgery for the four-centimeter tumor that could have killed her. "I consider myself to be very lucky," she said.

It's unclear which Apple Watch model Durkee owns, but the latest iteration, the Apple Watch 7, features blood-oxygen monitoring, heart-rate tracking and an electrocardiogram sensor (ECG). It's the latter, working in tandem with the heart-rate tracker, that likely saved Durkee; it can detect heart-rhythm irregularities.

The Apple Watch that helped rescue a kayaker

In mid-June, a man went kayaking with another companion along the coast of Sydney's north shore. Due to a large swell and violent winds, the pair got separated. Unfortunately, one of them got swept out nearly three miles out to sea — and he was unable to paddle back to shore.

Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7 (Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Don't worry, though! He has an Apple Watch. He used it to call for emergency assistance. The New South Wales Police Marine Area Command conducted a search for the kayaker, calling on the Westpac rescue helicopter crew to facilitate the hunt. Thanks to the aircraft, according to the Daily Mail, rescuers were able to spot the "extremely fatigued kayaker who was struggling to stay upright."

There were paramedics waiting for the man at the shore, but he refused treatment because, according to him, he was uninjured.

The kayaker likely used the side button of his Apple Watch to call for help. By simply dragging the Emergency SOS slider to the right, users in danger can reach emergency services in a flash. "After the call ends, your Apple Watch alerts your emergency contacts that you made a call and sends them your current location," Apple's support guide for the Watch said.

You never know when life can take a turn for the worse. I've been dismissing the Apple Watch as an unnecessary accessory, but these stories are convincing enough to make me consider snagging a smartwatch for myself.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!