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Smartwatch notification helps crews rescue motorcyclist after falling off southern Utah cliff

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 05, 2023

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — A motorcycle rider is recovering from a serious accident in southern Utah, and his watch is partially to thank.

Saturday around 10 a.m., emergency dispatch received an alert from the man's smartwatch, notifying them of a crash in the Warner Valley area.

As deputies responded, a call came in from a witness who reported that they saw a man on a motorcycle fall off a cliff, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

A search and rescue team was sent to the area along with members of the Hurricane Valley Fire Department and a LifeFlight helicopter.

The helicopter was unable to land at the site due to the slope, and they weren't able to use a hoist either. So search and rescue team members used a high-angle rope system to access the victim and provide lifesaving measures. After about four hours, he was stabilized enough that they were able to take him to the helicopter. He was then taken to St. George Regional Hospital in critical condition.

Officials said the man had apparently stopped on the edge of a cliff and went to put his foot down, but he fell off the cliff alongside his bike. He fell about 40-50 feet, hit a ledge, then fell another 80-100 feet down a "scree slope" (steep, often covered in loose rocks).

Although the victim was in critical condition Saturday, a sheriff's office spokesperson told FOX 13 News on Sunday that he has improved and is expected to recover.