Apple launched its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature with the launch of the iPhone 14, and we’re already seeing it save lives. This weekend, three Brigham Young University students were left stranded while exploring the canyons of the San Rafael Swell Recreation area in Utah and used the feature to call for help.
According to KUTV, the students became stranded in deep water during their time canyoneering and were unable to get out for several hours resulting in hypothermic shock to begin setting in. Due to the rural area they were in, the group wasn’t able to call for help using regular cellular data. Luckily, Stephen Watts, one of the students, had an iPhone 14 and was able to use the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature to text authorities and share their location with them.
One of the other students, Jeremy Mumford, explained to KUTV that “the canyon was about 500 feet deep of sheer, rock walls but about every 20 minutes a satellite would line up where we were in the canyon and, by holding the phone up, we could get a signal where we could text 911 to Emery County.” With the help of the iPhone 14, the trio was able to be rescued soon after, likely saving their lives.
While they had responsibly told an emergency contact to call for help if the contact hadn’t heard from them by 9 p.m., the three students had been trapped for several hours in freezing water by the time they were rescued, so it’s possible that their emergency contact would have been too late and that their lives could have been at serious risk were it not for the help of the iPhone.
The students’ story and the many more that will likely surface as the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature gets into more hands serves as a great reminder that staying current with your technology can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to emergency situations. Emergency SOS via Satellite is still relatively limited in its reach since it’s exclusive to the iPhone 14 line, but as more people begin adopting the iPhone 14 and later models as they release, it seems like it may become a safety feature that we’ll wonder how we ever got by without.