What just happened? Apple’s Emergency SOS feature has been praised for saving a woman from an attempted sexual assault in Virginia Beach, Va. The anonymous victim has credited the tool with saving her life after a stranger attacked her.
CBS affiliate WTKR reports that the incident took place around 2 AM on Sunday morning at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The woman was about to get into her Uber to go home when a lone stranger approached asking for help to find his iPhone.
“I wasn’t suspecting he was bad. He was a very normal, nice-looking guy,” she said. “I was like, ‘Where are your friends? Why are you alone?’ He was like, I’m in the military. I’m not from here,’ and my brother is in the military — I felt bad for him.”
The man lured her to a secluded area after claiming his handset was lost in the sand. She let him use her ‘find my iPhone’ app, but it wasn’t working. She became suspicious when he was unable to navigate the iOS interface, suggesting he didn’t own an iPhone.
The Emergency SOS feature is also present on the Apple Watch
“I get my phone back and I turn around and I try to run away and he just comes up from behind me, tackles me, grabs my face, is covering my mouth,” the woman said. “I’m trying to scream for help, [he] tackles me to the ground — is like shoving my face to the ground — and now, because I’ve been screaming, he’s holding my mouth even tighter trying to muffle any noise I’m making.”
Because the woman had Emergency SOS enabled on her iPhone, she was able to dial 911 without unlocking the device. By long-pressing the power and volume down buttons, she was put through to the emergency services. A dispatcher heard her cries for help and sent police to the location.
Thankfully, authorities were able to find the woman by what she said. “They were originally going to look in the hotels and dispatch updated them that I was talking about the water— I’m begging him not to drown, I don’t want to drown – so they knew to come look in the sand.”
The attacker fled on foot when law enforcement arrived, but he was tracked down and captured.
“I’m so thankful for those police officers. I know they have a thankless job, and I just can’t thank them enough,” the woman said.