After Man Falls Off Cliff While on Date, Watch Saves His Life


Dates can be tricky affairs. If you don’t know enough about the other person, you might suggest something they wouldn’t really like. Coffee? A movie? Dinner? A concert?

James Prudenciano and Paige Paruso settled on a hike for their date. Low-key with plenty of diversions and activity — plus, the two enjoyed hiking, so it seemed like a good idea.

And it was — until the couple strayed from the path and found themselves lost within the Hartshorne Woods Park in Monmouth County, New Jersey, according to News 12.

If they’d had lots of time to see and assess their situation they might’ve been fine, but the sun was setting and they were stranded on a cliffside.

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Paruso slipped down the cliff first, according to NBC News, and Prudenciano went after her. Thorny vines, a steep incline, and nothing below them but water and rocks meant the two were stuck.

In the slipping, Prudenciano lost one of his shoes, and their options didn’t look good. They decided to try scooting down the mountainside to more amenable ground, but things moved quickly, and they ended up sliding around 100 feet down the mountain.

“My leg was twisted and I was already hurt,” Prudenciano said, according to NBC. “I had a thorn that went through my foot.”

“We got to the bottom and that’s when it was life or death,” he told News 12. “I looked down and I noticed it was a straight drop to rocks and water.”

But the next thing he knew, there was a voice coming from his Apple watch: “911, what’s your emergency?”

His Apple watch — which he had recently purchased — had the “fall detection” feature activated. According to Apple, this is a feature that helps assist in potential emergencies.

“If Apple Watch Series 4 or later detects a hard fall while you’re wearing your watch, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert,” an Apple Support page reads. “You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping ‘I’m OK.'”

“If your Apple Watch detects that you’re moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won’t automatically call emergency services. If your watch detects that you have been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically.”

Prudenciano’s watch contacted 911 and sent his GPS coordinates, and help was on the way.

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“I was screaming that I’m going to die because I really felt I was going to die,” he said. “There was no way out of this for me. I literally said my last goodbyes.”

“I had no idea how it knew I was about to fall,” he told WNBC. “I have no idea how it knew I was in that situation, but I was immobile — like I could not get out of the situation. I was stuck.”

Eventually, they both fell into the water, and Prudenciano fell on a rock. A boat passing by managed to pick them up and transport them to a pier.

Both hikers went to Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and while Paruso suffered minor injuries, it was Prudenciano who’d gotten thorns embedded in his foot and fractured his back in three places.

While neither is saying if there will be another date in the future, Prudenciano did share that this hasn’t put him off hiking — he’ll be back.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking