iPhone Survives 16,000-Foot Drop After Alaska Airlines Plane Incident

An iPhone that was expelled from the cabin of Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on Friday survived a fall of more than 16,000 feet and was discovered intact.

recovered alaska phone
Vancouver, Washington resident Sean Bates shared images of the device on Sunday after he found it on the side of Barnes Road in Portland, Oregon. The ‌iPhone‌ was in full working condition and was in fact still open to an Alaska Airlines email. There were no cracks on the display, though it was protected by a case and presumably landed in a forested area with soft ground cover.

Bates alerted the National Transportation Safety Board, and officials came out to collect the device. The NTSB told Bates that it was the second phone to be found from the flight in the area.

The ‌iPhone‌ was expelled from Alaska Airlines flight 1282 after a portion of the plane blew out shortly after it took off from the Portland International Airport. The aircraft was able to safely land back at the Portland airport, and all passengers and crew members survived.

The sudden depressurization in the cabin of the plane caused items like smartphones to be sucked out, where they fell to the ground below. In 2011, Wired wrote a piece on the terminal velocity of an ‌iPhone‌ falling from a plane, which is a good explainer on how the device was able to survive. In a nutshell, the low weight and maximum speed of the ‌iPhone‌ leads to a limited amount of force on landing despite the height of the fall, so the end result isn't too much different from dropping it from a lower height.

There were two smartphones found from the plane, along with other debris such as the plug door that may give some insight into what went wrong.

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Top Rated Comments

rorschach Avatar
24 weeks ago
Score: 154 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
24 weeks ago
YouTubers who do drop tests need to up their game
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiensoy Avatar
24 weeks ago
How come it had no passcode?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
schlitzz Avatar
24 weeks ago
iPhone. More durable than a Boeing…
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
24 weeks ago
An iPhone that was expelled from the cabin of Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on Friday survived a fall of more than 16,000 feet and was discovered intact.
Was the impact with the ground not enough to activate the iPhone's crash detection ('https://support.apple.com/en-afri/104959')?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thinsays Avatar
24 weeks ago
I'm surprised the screen didn't lock though
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)