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iPhone survives 16,000-ft drop from Alaska Airlines flight “perfectly intact”

It was still in airplane mode with half a battery.
  • A man claims to have found an iPhone on the ground still “perfectly intact” after falling 16,000 feet from an Alaska Airlines flight
  • Sean Bates claims the iPhone was still in airplane mode with half a battery
  • He reported the phone to the NTSB, which told him it “was the second phone to be found”

Published on Jan 8, 2024 at 8:29PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Jan 9, 2024 at 6:52PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones
iPhone survives 16,000-ft drop from Alaska Airlines flight "perfectly intact"

A man on social media claims to have found an iPhone “perfectly intact” after falling 16,000 feet from an Alaska Airlines flight that suffered a mid-air blowout.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing on Friday (5 January) in Oregon after a window and chunk of fuselage blew out shortly after takeoff.

Yet a user on X shared a post on Sunday claiming to have found an iPhone on the ground still in airplane mode – likely sucked out of the plane’s blown-out window.

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“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!” @SeanSafyre posted on X.

The man, listed as Sean Bates on the platform, added that he reported the phone to the NTSB, which told him it “was the second phone to be found.”

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Back to the phone that fell from the sky and, in another post, Bates shared a picture of the iPhone with a broken-off charger plug still inside it.

Bates also posted a follow-up video to TikTok, sharing how he was out walking when he found the iPhone.

“I was, of course, a little skeptical at first. I was thinking this could just be thrown out of a car or someone dropped it while they were jogging… but it was still pretty clean. No scratches on it, sitting under a bush, and it didn’t have a screen lock on it,” he recalled. 

“So I opened it up, and it was in airplane mode with a travel confirmation and baggage claim for Alaska 1282.”

The good news is that both phones found were turned over to the NTSB, which vowed to reunite them with their owners.

The NTSB also revealed that the lost door plug was found on Sunday near Portland by a school teacher, who discovered it in his backyard and send two photos to the safety board.

Investigators now have the task of examining the plug, which measures 26 by 48 inches and weighs 63 pounds (28kg), to establish how it broke free.

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