Although a steep free fall from a plane might appear unsurvivable, an unsuspecting iPhone defies all odds.
Game designer Sean Bates took to X to share his discovery on the side of the road on Saturday — an Apple iPhone.
According to his post, the iPhone had allegedly fallen from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, surviving an astounding 16,000-foot drop in one piece.
The undamaged phone was even turned on, with the end of a charging cable still connected to the device and displaying an opened email from Alaska Airlines containing the owner's baggage receipt.
Found an iPhone on the side of the road... Still in airplane mode with half a battery and open to a baggage claim for #AlaskaAirlines ASA1282 Survived a 16,000 foot drop perfectly in tact!— Seanathan Bates (@SeanSafyre) January 7, 2024
When I called it in, Zoe at @NTSB said it was the SECOND phone to be found. No door yet😅 pic.twitter.com/CObMikpuFd
In a TikTok video, Bates admitted that he was skeptical of the phone at first, saying that he "was thinking this could just be thrown out of a car or someone dropped it while they were jogging."
However, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed a day later that the recovered iPhone, along with another cellular device found in a nearby yard, was from the Boeing 737 Max 9.
A few minutes after takeoff, the Boeing 737 Max 9 experienced an explosive decompression, propelling a fuselage plug off the aircraft and requiring an immediate turnaround for an emergency landing at Portland International Airport, from where it initially departed.
On January 6, the FAA took action to ground 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, launching an investigation to probe whether this incident hinted at a more extensive concern.
Simultaneously, The Seattle Times reported on the day of the event that Boeing had submitted a request for a safety exemption related to an unrelated flaw, posing the threat of engine damage.
While it may seem like a miracle for the iPhone to survive such a steep fall, a similar incident occurred in 2011, wherein an iPhone 4 survived a 1000-foot-fall from a plane.
Wire, which reported the incident over a decade ago, explained that physics and the durability of the device play equal roles in its survival. A
s an object descends, it eventually reaches terminal velocity, or the highest speed attainable before the resistance of the medium it is falling through balances the force of gravity.