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  • A young couple fell 300 feet from the Angeles Crest Freeway northeast of Los Angeles on Tuesday.
  • Chloe Fields told Insider that an iPhone feature she didn’t know she had could save their lives.
  • The new Emergency SOS feature detects accidents and uses satellites to contact emergency services.

Chloe Fields and her boyfriend, Christian Zelada, were taking a scenic drive through the Angeles National Forest on Tuesday, as they often do, when things took a turn for the worst. their car went over the edge of the mountain and fell 300 feet. landing, upside down, in the valley below.

“Angeles Crest is our backyard,” Fields, 23, told Insider of the highway that winds through the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles. “We love driving there, it’s beautiful, especially after it rains.”

But about halfway down the road, the pair were closely followed and honked by another car trying to negotiate the steep winding roads that are often used as backdrops for car commercials. As they pulled over to give the driver some room to pass, the vehicle lost traction and continued to the edge of the cliff before spinning.

“The next thing we know, we were falling,” Fields said, adding that he remembers saying his friend’s name as they neared the edge. “I still couldn’t register it in my head.”

He said he was in shock when they left, but Zelada, 24, kept saying: this is how it will end.’

But when the car landed, upside down and at the bottom of Monkey Canyon, they were miraculously alive.

After falling off the Angeles Crest Freeway, their car landed upside down.

After falling off the Angeles Crest Freeway, their car landed upside down.

Chloe Fields

They quickly unbuckled their seat belts, got out of the car and checked each other for injuries or protruding objects, but found nothing, just a few small cuts and bruises.

“The first thing I said was, ‘That didn’t happen,'” Fields said. “I was in disbelief the whole time.”

It was around 2 p.m., about 40 degrees outside, and the couple were hundreds of feet below the highway. They checked the car for their phones, but they were gone. Fortunately, Zelada quickly found Fields’ iPhone 14 about ten yards up the hill. It was broken and, as they expected, no reception.

“Anyone who goes up to Angeles Peak already knows there is no service there. It’s very remote,” Fields said.

But the phone still had a message saying that an accident had been detected and to swipe to contact the emergency services. Even though the screen looked like the phone had “taken a bullet,” it was still in good enough shape for texting, which Fields attributes to having a screen protector on it.

They began texting the emergency service provider, explaining what had happened and saying they needed help. The person on the other end would instruct them to walk a certain path or hold the phone up in a certain direction to help them relay their messages and location data.

Within 30 minutes, they were airlifted out of the valley.

The message on the iPhone was part of Apple’s new Emergency SOS via satellite, which features Crash Detection and Fall Detection software and uses satellites to contact emergency services when the iPhone is out of range. This feature connects iPhone users to an emergency call center that can collect information and notify emergency services.

Chloe Fields talks to emergency services with her broken iPhone 14 after the crash.

Chloe Fields talks to emergency services with her broken iPhone 14 after the crash.

Chloe Fields

The feature, which Fields didn’t even know was on the iPhone he recently received, went live in mid-November. It is currently installed on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices running iOS 16.1 or later and is available in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.

Emergency SOS via satellite also allows users to share their location with friends and family if they want to check in while traveling off-grid. It’s also free for two years after you first activate your iPhone 14, according to Apple.

“If we hadn’t found my phone or nobody knew we were there, it could have been a lot worse,” Fields said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, patrol units and air rescue all responded to the scene after being contacted by EMS, LASD Sergeant John Gilbert said in a statement to Insider.

Fields said he was still in shock and on air as paramedics arrived at the scene, and one of the firefighters tried to cheer him up, saying, “Smile, you’re alive!”

Even as he was lifted out of the canyon and into the helicopter, his brain was still processing what had happened. And although he is afraid of heights, he only thought: “Thank God, we’re going, we’re leaving.”

Pictures and: videos LASD shared footage of the vehicle as it was spotted from the helicopter, as well as the moment the couple was pulled from the canyon.

The couple was taken to the hospital and evaluated, but returned home with their dog later that night. They both suffered headaches and neck pain, and Zelada may have a concussion, but she said she was grateful they made it through the ordeal relatively unscathed.

Fields said it will take more time for her to process what happened, but the near-death experience reminded her that “life goes on.”

“The questions I was thinking to myself are: what is the reason I am still here, what was the purpose, what is God’s purpose for me to continue?

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