Apple Watch saves life of woman buried alive by her husband

Apple Watch series 8
(Image credit: Future / iMore)

An Apple Watch has been credited with saving the life of a Seattle woman who was allegedly buried alive by her estranged husband. She was able to call for help using her wearable, according to reports.

Those reports say that the woman was able to call 911 and send an emergency notification when her husband briefly left her alone during the attack, just before he dragged her to the garage and broke the watch with a hammer.

Close escape

NBC News reports that the Washington state woman was allegedly buried after discussing an impending divorce and money with the man.

When placing the call to emergency services, the woman was heard to be gagged but was screaming for help. She later told officials that her husband was trying to harm her, according to court documents. She was found with "duct tape still wrapped around her neck, lower face, and ankles" after managing to escape.

The woman's husband, 53-year-old Chae Kyong An, now faces a number of charges including first-degree attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree assault.

This is of course not the first time that an Apple Watch has been credited with helping save a life, but it's rare that such an instance is so violent and part of a case as serious as this. Reports don't mention whether the woman had an iPhone within reach, but with her hands bound the Apple Watch was no doubt the best method for calling for help.

The Apple Watch includes an Emergency SOS feature specifically designed to help people call for help when they might not have an iPhone to hand, or simply can't maneuver enough to use it. A similar lifesaving feature, called Fall Detection, can automatically call for help when an Apple Watch wearer takes a tumble and is unable to call 911.

Kyong An has not been formally charged, but a Judge Wednesday granted the prosecutor's request to hold him without bail. 

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.