Paralysed man rescued, thanks to iPhone's Siri

Mr Cho, a 29-year-old former professional mountain biker, collapsed on his doorstep after a burst blood vessel paralysed him from the neck down. He dragged himself to his phone with his chin and used his tongue to activate his iPhone's Siri voice com
Mr Cho, a 29-year-old former professional mountain biker, collapsed on his doorstep after a burst blood vessel paralysed him from the neck down. He dragged himself to his phone with his chin and used his tongue to activate his iPhone's Siri voice command to call for help.PHOTO: GOFUNDME.COM

VANCOUVER • A man who collapsed, paralysed from the neck down after a blood vessel burst in his spine, used his tongue to activate the Siri voice command on his iPhone and saved his own life.

Mr Andrew Cho, 29, a former professional mountain biker, felt dizzy after going out with friends on Jan 6 and collapsed on his doorstep.

Using only his chin, he dragged himself towards his phone, which had fallen 25cm away.

"It took five tries with his tongue - but he got Siri and used voice command to call 911," a friend, Mr Danny Brody, told CTV News.

Mr Cho had burst a blood vessel in his C3 and C4 vertebrae. He received emergency surgery to relieve the pressure in his back. Recovering in a hospital spinal unit, he now has partial mobility in his right side but limited movement otherwise.

His friends decided to try raising at least C$75,000 (S$81,500) for the medical expenses he faces because of the spinal cord injury - including home and vehicle modifications and personal help.

"He's going to have to relearn every movement. It's not going to be easy," Mr Brody said. "He's determined to walk out of there."

News of his ordeal quickly spread among the cycling and mountain biking community, attracting good wishes and donations from North and South America, Europe and Australia.

After two days, the donations had passed the target, to more than C$80,000 on Saturday.

Mr Cho was so moved by the amount of support that he recorded a thank-you video from the hospital.

"I can't believe all of the support that's come in from around the world.

"So I just want to say thank you to every one of you guys that has contributed to the campaign and I plan on making a full recovery and getting out of here," he said in the video which has been aired by CTV.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Paralysed man rescued, thanks to iPhone's Siri'. Print Edition | Subscribe