SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — A Berwick, Maine man, originally from Westwood, credits local firefighters and his Apple watch with saving his life after he fell through the ice in neighboring Somersworth, N.H. on Sunday.
“It was just going to be a 15-, 20-minute, half-hour skate and I just love doing that,” said Bill Rogers.
Rogers says he’s been skating his whole life and on Sunday he decided to go out on the Salmon Falls River when the ice gave way.
“It kind of mushed out. Yeah, it was soft,” said Rogers.
He tried to climb out but couldn’t get up onto the ice. He had a phone in his pocket but was afraid if he reached for it he might lose his grip and get swept under by the strong current.
So, he yelled for help but no one heard him. Breathing was getting harder and he knew time was running out.
“When I felt my breath, I said, ‘You’re in trouble, you need to get out of here really quickly.’” he said.
Then he remembered he was wearing an Apple watch.
“As I was thinking about that, I put my hands up on the ice and said, ‘Oh I can use my phone.’ It was a real happy moment. I mean, I can use my watch,” said Rogers.
He fumbled with his gloves and yelled at Siri to call for help.
“Finally, when I took my glove off, I pushed on the crown and then it said, ‘Do you want to call emergency services?’ I said, ‘Yes! Please! Right now,’” said Rogers.
Rescue crews were on scene in minutes. They say Rogers stayed calm and that helped him to keep a clear head despite hypothermia setting in.
“By his own admission, he didn’t think he had too much longer before he was going to succumb to the cold,” said Somersworth Fire Chief George Kramlinger.
Rogers says he’s grateful for the folks who pulled him to safety and knows how fortunate he is.
“I am a lucky man. Man, to have this family, this community, to have this family… yeah… Amen on that,” he said.
Chief Kramlinger said this happy ending is also a good lesson. He warns people to be wary of frozen lakes and especially rivers.
“The only safe ice at any time in the winter is in an ice arena,” said Kramlinger.
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