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iPhone survives 16,000-foot drop after Alaska Airlines 1282 panel blows out mid-flight

Published Jan 8th, 2024 6:46AM EST
iPhone survives Alaska Airlines accident
Image: Seanathan Bates/X

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On Saturday, one of Alaska Airlines’ planes had a window and fuselage blown out midair, forcing an emergency landing. Despite the shock, no one got hurt. While the story itself is incredible, a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) has gone viral as an iPhone from this plane was found intact on a road near Beaverton, Oregon.

According to Seanathan Bates, he found an iPhone from the Alaska Airlines flight on the side of the road. It was still in Airplane Mode with half a battery and open to a baggage claim for this flight. The iPhone, which had a case and screen protector, was intact after a 16,000-foot drop.

Interestingly, while the case and the screen protector look as good as new, there was just a tiny issue: A broken-off charger plug still inside it. But despite that, everything seemed to be working just fine. Another X user posted where the airplane was when its panel blew out and where the iPhone was later found.

Bates says that he called the National Transportation Safety Board, and the agency said another functional phone from the plane was found – although we don’t know which brand the phone is.

The image seems to imply the person who lost the iPhone after the Alaska Airlines incident had an iPhone 14 Pro or one of the iPhone 15 models. While Apple claims the Ceramic Shield technology brings the toughest screen to a smartphone, I’m sure the company hasn’t tested that many 16,000-foot drops. In addition, the phone possibly landed on grass, which helped soften the fall.

At the moment, the NTSB and the US Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident. After the blowout, the government has grounded some Boeing 737 Max 9 planes and expects a further investigation from Alaska Airlines and everyone else.

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José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.