Skip to content

Smartphones are a major focus for everything from technology addiction to cyberbullying and the spread of misinformation. But for one Californian, their iPhone was literally a lifesaver.

Chloe Fields and Christian Zelada were driving through the Angeles National Forest near Monkey Canyon when an impatient driver pulled up behind them. Trying to let the driver pass, Zelada tried to turn around. Instead, he lost control of the car, which skidded off the side of the highway and plunged about 300 feet, overturning and crashing into trees.

The couple miraculously survived the crash with only minor injuries.

“All we had were bruises on our faces, cuts and a little neck pain, and now a mild concussion,” Fields told the New York Times.

Even after the initial crash, Fields and Zelada were hardly in the clear. The pair found themselves miles from civilization with injuries, no cell service and rapidly approaching temperatures. But Fields’ iPhone 14 was already running on the program.

Using technology that appeared barely a month ago, the phone had already realized that an accident had occurred and that emergency services should have been alerted. Although the screen was broken in the crash, the iPhone instructed Fields how to contact first responders via Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite.

According to Apple’s press release announcing the service’s introduction in November, “the technology enables users to send messages to emergency services outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.”

Apple’s Emergency SOS team was able to contact local authorities and provide them with Fields and Zelada’s location. According to the Los Angeles Times, a helicopter was dispatched to rescue the couple within 30 minutes of the incident.

Calling Fields and Zelada’s survival “a miracle in itself,” Sgt. John Gilbert, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Montrose Search and Rescue Team, told the Los Angeles Times that the crash was the first in the area that he could remember that was not fatal.

Satellite phones have been around for years, allowing users to call or text from faraway locations, but only recently have iPhones used satellite connectivity technology.

“Delivering Emergency SOS via satellite is an important advance that will save lives. The important work Apple has done to create innovative new solutions to support 911 providers and first responders is a huge step forward in protecting Californians and the broader public during emergencies,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. , in Apple’s press release.

Fields and Zelada would certainly agree.

“Their technology was extremely helpful in this case,” Gilbert told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the crashed car was not visible from a nearby road.

Counting their blessings, Zelada reminded the New York Times of what she told Fields after the accident:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *