Crash survivor recounts how iPhone SOS feature led to helicopter rescue in Angeles National Forest

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Friday, December 16, 2022
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A woman who survived a car crash in the Angeles National Forest recounted how an iPhone 14 emergency SOS feature helped summon a rescue helicopter after the vehicle plunged about 300 feet into a canyon.

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman who survived a car crash in the Angeles National Forest recounted how an iPhone 14 emergency SOS feature helped summon a rescue helicopter after the vehicle plunged about 300 feet into a canyon.

Shortly before, 2 p.m. Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Crescenta Valley station received a notification from an iPhone 14 via satellite service, the agency said. The victims, Cloe Fields and her boyfriend, had been involved in a single-vehicle crash near mile marker 18.87 in Monkey Canyon, where their car went "off the side of the mountain," according to the Montrose Search and Rescue Team.

In an interview with ABC7, Fields said she and her boyfriend were traveling on the Angeles National Forest Highway when a driver sped past them. The victims' vehicle veered off of the highway and dropped hundreds of feet to the bottom of the rocky canyon.

"They were in a remote canyon with no cellular phone service" and were able to extricate themselves from the vehicle, the Search and Rescue Team said in a statement.

Fields said she had recently upgraded to an iPhone 14, which includes a new emergency SOS system that uses crash-detection and satellite technology.

"Immediately the phone said 'crash detected, emergency services have been contacted," she said.

Using the iPhone feature, Fields and her boyfriend were able to communicate to a relay center via text, authorities said.

"I don't know if it was a real person -- if it was, thank God," Fields said. "They knew my name already when I was saying my name, what happened, injuries, we're all OK, please help us.'"

The center contacted the station, which dispatched the Search and Rescue Team, L.A. County firefighters, sheriff's patrol units and a helicopter.

After the call center provided the latitude and longitude of the victims' location, the rescue helicopter was able to find them within 30 minutes and lowered a paramedic via cable. The couple had each suffered mild to moderate injuries in the crash, which left their vehicle overturned at the bottom of the canyon.

Video provided by the Sheriff's Department shows the victims being hoisted into the helicopter. They were then transported to a hospital, authorities said.