iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite and Crash Detection features combine to help first responders pull off incredible helicopter rescue

The new Emergency SOS via satellite feature for iPhone 14 users has only been available for a month, but we’re already seeing stories emerge showcasing the power of this functionality. Now, first responders in California are crediting Emergency SOS via satellite and Crash Detection with helping them perform an incredible rescue in Angeles National Forest.

According to law enforcement and first responders, a car with two passengers drove off Angeles Forest Highway in Angeles National Forest and plummeted 300 feet into the canyon. One of the passengers’ iPhone 14 registered this crash thanks to the new Crash Detection feature.

In the canyon, the passengers had no cell phone service, which is where Emergency SOS via satellite enters the equation. After the iPhone 14 registered the crash, the iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity feature kicked in to connect the victims to first responders. The iPhone 14 was connected to one of Apple’s new relay centers, and that relay center then communicated the situation with first responders.

The iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity feature relayed accurate latitude and longitude data, and first responders and rescue teams were dispatched. Using a helicopter, the rescue team was able to hoist the victims out of the canyon and transport them to a local hospital.

This situation occurred yesterday, as described by the Montrose Search and Rescue Team on Twitter.

This afternoon at approximately 1:55 PM, @CVLASD received a call from the Apple emergency satellite service. The informant and another victim had been involved in a single vehicle accident on Angeles Forest Hwy near mile marker 18.87, Angeles Forest.

Their vehicle had gone off the side of the mountain, approximately 300′. They were in a remote canyon with no cellular phone service. The victims were able to extricate themselves from the car. Using the emergency satellite service on their iPhone 14, they were able to communicate to a relay center via text. The center contacted our station who dispatched us, @LACOFD, patrol units, and @SEBLASD Air Rescue 5.

The call center gave us an accurate latitude and longitude for the victims. Air Rescue 5 was able to locate the victims and insert a paramedic. The paramedic learned the patients, a male and female in their 20s, had mild to moderate injuries. The helicopter was able to hoist the victims out of the canyon and transport them to a local area hospital.

The first responding teams also shared some video footage of the rescue on Twitter, and it’s pretty incredible:

9to5Mac’s Take

This is an insanely impressive use of Apple’s two newest safety features for iPhone 14 users. While Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite are impressive in their own rights, it’s even more impressive seeing the two features work together. In fact, I wasn’t even aware that the two features could work together.

In its support document for Crash Detection on iPhone 14, Apple points out that this is indeed possible:

If you have iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro, Crash Detection notifications to emergency services may be communicated by the Emergency SOS via satellite system when you’re outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, where Emergency SOS via satellite is available.

We’ve already seen a few stories of Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite saving people’s lives, and the features have only been available since this fall. We expect tales like this to continue, but whether or not we ever see one as impressive as this remains to be seen.

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