iPhone 14 Crash Detection Saves Driver After 400-Foot Cliff Drop

Had it not been for the iPhone's SOS, the driver "would have bled out."
Mike Leum via Twitter / Apple

Montrose Search and Rescue in Los Angeles County was alerted of a car crash on Friday night at 10:51 p.m. A driver went over the edge of a cliff on Mt. Wilson Road, dropping almost 400 feet. However, the team members weren’t alerted by the driver, who suffered head trauma and was bleeding, nor were they alerted by any witnesses. Instead, the driver’s iPhone 14 called 9-1-1 on its own and gave emergency services its GPS location so they could find the driver in time. Not only did they find him in time, but they credit the iPhone for helping to save his life.

Mike Leum, part of the Montrose Search and Rescue team, said on Twitter that the driver “would have bled out if his iPhone 14 didn’t send us a crash alert.”

Apple revealed its Crash Detection feature during the iPhone 14’s debut in September of 2022. Everything sounds neat when it’s being talked about on stage, but it’s even more remarkable to see it in action. It really was a lifesaver in this case.

Once the iPhone detects a crash, it displays an alert on the screen with options to call emergency services. If that alert isn’t canceled in 20 seconds, the iPhone calls out on its own. If the owner of the phone is unresponsive, it plays its own audio message, alerting emergency services of the crash and its GPS location. If there isn’t cellular service or WiFi, the phone can even use an emergency satellite SOS, which is exactly what it did in this situation.

“However, in this location, there is no cell service available,” Montrose Search and Rescue operations leader Steve Goldsworthy told WSAZ. “So it then reverts to satellite communication. It sends a text message via satellite to the Apple Communications Center.”

Looking at the car in a video posted by Leum, you can see it was absolutely totaled at the bottom of a cliff, surrounded by trees. The search and rescue team said it could have taken days for anyone to find the driver had it not been for the iPhone calling for help on its own.

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