Two Americans escape death thanks to their iPhone 14

Two young Americans narrowly escaped death using the satellite distress call function of their iPhone 14. The incident shows the reliability of this emergency function of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro.

When a company offers security-related tools in the event of a more or less serious problem, the last thing you want is for them to be used. If you have never used your AirTags, is that you have never lost your keys. And if you’ve never needed the functionality of iPhone 14 and 14 Pro to alert the emergency services and to geolocate you even without a network means that you have not experienced a situation where your life was in danger. Cloe and Christian, two young Americans who fell 300 meters by car to the bottom of a canyon, on the other hand tested the reliability of this system despite themselves.

Miracle survivors saved by their iPhone 14

At the end of December 2022, Cloe and Christian are driving peacefully on the Angeles Crest Highway, a Californian road in the heart of the canyons of the Angeles National Forest, in the hinterland of Los Angeles. The 23 and 24-year-old couple admire the typical scenery of the region when a driver in a hurry honks his horn to overtake them. Christian falls back on the roadside to avoid a painful situation. But its wheels land on a place where the gravel is crumbly. The car begins to slide and Christian cannot do the maneuver that would save them from certain death. The Hyundai Elantra inevitably slides into the ravine. 300 meters of fall, the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, in 15 seconds of hyperventilation.

Angeles Crest Highway // Source: Google Maps screenshot

The car stops at the bottom of the abyss and, miraculously, the two young people are unharmed. A few scratches that let them extricate themselves from the completely shattered car against a tree stump on the driver’s side. Immediately after coming to their senses, Christian and Cloe realize they’re not out of the woods. The area is sparsely traveled, they are below a road, are not equipped for an adventure and, as is often the case in these areas, have no mobile network to call for help.

What they don’t know yet is that Christian’s iPhone 14 has already done half the work. When Cloe finds him a few meters from the crash, he has detected the accident and pre-activated the satellite distress call functionality. A swipe later, help was on the way with an accurate GPS location, dispatching a rescue helicopter and airlifting the two Americans to the nearest hospital — which confirmed they had nothing.

A proven backup feature

The survivors of the accident could therefore have remained there without access to emergency services. The iPhone 14 with its satellite emergency mode therefore did exactly what was asked of it. In the case of the detection of a serious accident, picked up by the accelerometer of the iPhone, he would have continued his actions in complete autonomy and alerted the emergency services without the need for interaction on the screen. Cloe’s command on the terminal sped up the process.

The emergency satellite SOS function of the iPhone 14. // Source: Numerama
The emergency satellite SOS function of the iPhone 14. // Source: Numerama

A proof that the concept works that delights Sergeant Gilbert, responsible for the rescue team in the region. Asked by the washington post on the accident, he confirms that such a tool “ change the rules of the game “. Before recalling that the response time to an incident is still in 2022 one of the most problematic elements for the emergency services to be effective: “ there are lots of incidents where there is a delay of an hour to an hour and a half before we receive the first notification “. Between the automatic call, the possibility of making it without having a network and the precise GPS coordinates, it is easy to understand how the iPhones will change these parameters.

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Two Americans escape death thanks to their iPhone 14

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