iPhone saves couple after car falls off cliff, Latest World News - The New Paper

iPhone saves couple after car falls off cliff

This article is more than 12 months old

It’s a miracle this US couple survived such a horrendous car crash - almost unscathed.

But they were at the bottom of a canyon, miles from anywhere, and what’s just as amazing is that rescuers reached them in half an hour.

And that's thanks to the new emergency SOS technology in their iPhone.

Ms Cloe Fields and her boyfriend, Mr Christian Zelada, were on a highway in Southern California on Dec 13 when the crash happened, the New York Times reported.

The couple said a woman in a white Mercedes started honking from behind.

Mr Zelada, 24, a Honda sales consultant, said he was trying to let the woman pass, when their Hyundai Elantra suddenly hit some gravel, lost traction, spun 180 degrees and plunged over the edge of the road.

Ms Fields said the car smashed into trees as it careened down before it flipped over and landed wheels-up at the bottom of Monkey Canyon in the Angeles National Forest.

The couple had fallen nearly 100m, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“We only had bruises on our faces, cuts and a little bit of neck pain and, now, a mild concussion,” Ms Fields, 23, a freelance video editor, told NYT.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Sergeant John Gilbert of the Sheriff’s Department as saying that when other drivers have fallen into that canyon, “we’re normally dealing with a fatality”.

Sgt Gilbert, coordinator of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team, which responded to the crash, said: “It’s just so steep and so far down.”

After unbuckling their seatbelts and crawling out of the car, the couple faced their next challenge - calling for help in a spot with no mobile phone signal.

Ms Fields had a new iPhone 14 and they found it about 10m from the wreck of their car.

The screen was cracked but the phone had detected there had been a crash.

And it guided them through connecting to a satellite and summoning help.

The Sheriff’s Department said it received a call at about 1:55pm from Apple’s emergency call centre, with a precise location, and dispatched search and rescue teams.

A rescue team soon arrived in a helicopter, hoisted the couple out of the canyon and took them to a hospital.

It wasn't clear if the woman in the Mercedes saw what had happened, and just drove on.

A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol said the crash was under investigation and no further information was immediately available.

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