Skier believed to have triggered Apple crash detection alert: RCMP

New tech causes false alarm

A new emergency feature on Apple devices prompted a large unwarranted emergency response in the Kootenays.

In a news release, RCMP say they received an emergency alert on Dec. 10 at 9:55 a.m. from smart watch that stated its owner had been in a severe car crash in Rossland, B.C.

“The GPS coordinates were provided as part of the message to police. Officers and EHS conducted extensive patrols for the alleged motor vehicle incident, however, the search turned up empty,” said police.

There was also no report of a motor vehicle crash in the Rossland area.

Apple’s latest smart watch and iPhones includes a feature called “crash detection,” that uses on-device sensors to determine when an owner was involved in a car crash. When the device believes a crash occurred, it sends an alert to the user. If the alert is not dismissed by the user, emergency crews are automatically called.

RCMP officers say they learned about this feature after their searches for the car crash came up empty.

The investigating officers concluded that someone may have fallen while skiing at Red Mountain Resort and the fall triggered the severe car accident alert.

“Please be aware if your cell phone and smart watch provide this service, and notify the police if it triggered accidentally,” RCMP said in a news release.

Last month, it was reported that emergency dispatchers in Utah’s ski resort region have seen an increase in accidental 911 calls due to Apple’s new crash detection.

The technology is turned on by default in all of Apple's latest devices. RCMP did not ask users to turn it off, just to be aware of the possibility of false alarms.

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