Apple's Emergency SOS Feature Saves Car Crash Victims in Angeles

Last month, Apple’s Emergency SOS function may have saved two trapped passengers after their vehicle drove off the road while driving through the Angeles National Forest, according to officials.

The new iPhone 14 doesn’t provide many upgrades over its predecessor. Still, it does have one unique feature that Apple heavily promoted and boasted about: the new emergency SOS via Satellite and crash detection.

Although it’s thought to be a simple feature, it recently saved a man’s life in Alaska, and many additional isolated incidents followed. Another case now proves how useful the crash detection system is in the event of a car accident.

Several incidents in the past month have proved the effectiveness of Apple’s new satellite-based SOS feature.

The incident reportedly happened on the Angeles Forest Highway in the Angeles National Forest in the US state of California, driving the car careening over the edge of a mountain and falling about 300 feet into an isolated canyon.

The accident was strong enough to pull the front bumper off the vehicle, which tumbled or slid into a steep valley well below the highway. The victims were identified as men and women in their 20s with “minimal to moderate” injuries.

The couple, around 19 miles into the forest without cell phone service, decided to test out the new satellite communications service for the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro.

After exiting the vehicle, the victims connected to Apple’s emergency satellite services as directed and informed the Crescenta Valley police station that they had fallen 300 feet down a mountainside.

They were in a remote canyon with no cellular phone service. Using the emergency satellite service on their iPhone 14, they were able to communicate to a relay center via text.Montrose Search & Rescue Team (Ca.)

Apple’s contact center then contacted other rescue groups, including the country’s sheriff’s department, that had access to the helicopter that rescued the two victims from the bottom of the canyon.

The iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity technology relayed precise latitude and longitude details, which allowed for the dispatch of emergency responders and rescue crews.

The rescue crew used a helicopter to lift the patients out of the canyon and take them to a nearby hospital.

Emergency SOS Via Satellite Launched in November 2022

The new Emergency SOS via satellite function is available only on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. The feature, released in the United States and Canada in November, will be free for iPhone 14 users for the first two years.

The software requires users to direct their phones at a passing partner satellite. Their location and relevant information, such as whether anybody is injured, are relayed if a connection is available.

The new SOS feature is free for all iPhone users for the first two years.

The communication is relayed to the proper authorities, such as the sheriffs, the LA County fire department, and the Montrose SAR team.

Emergency satellite SOS combines deeply integrated proprietary components and software to enable antennas to link directly to a satellite, allowing messaging with emergency services outside of cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

This week also saw the feature launch in France, Ireland, Germany, and the UK. Other nations Apple intends to introduce the service in are still unknown.

Other Similar Incidents

As mentioned, this isn’t the first instance of Apple’s Emergency SOS program working. The iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity allowed for the overnight rescue of a snowmobiler in Alaska.

An adult male snowmachine traveler from Noorvik to Kotzebue after getting lost to the Alaska State Troopers was reported to have activated the Emergency SOS via satellite on his iPhone.

The iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS and Crash Detection features have saved many individuals in similar situations in the US. Although Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite was only introduced last month, some of these tales prove that the technology is working as planned.

Now that Apple has gained some fame for rescuing its users, the question is: will other phone manufacturers follow suit?

According to rumors, the Samsung Galaxy S23 may be the first Android smartphone to use the iPhone 14-like function in the coming year. Google has also stated that it is developing its satellite solutions.