A scenic drive through Angeles National Forest was the plan for Cloe Fields and Christian Zelada on Tuesday.
However, things took a turn for the worse when their car went over the edge of the mountain and tumbled 300 feet before landing upside down in the canyon below.
As they drove along the dramatic winding roads, used frequently for car commercials, the couple was closely followed and honked at by another vehicle trying to pass. As they pulled over to give the driver some room to pass, the car lost traction and spun off towards the cliff edge.
Despite landing upside down, on the floor of Monkey Canyon, they miraculously survived.
In the aftermath of the accident, both of them quickly unbuckled their seat belts, crawled out of the vehicle, and examined each other for injuries. However, they found only a few small cuts and bruises.
The couple was hundreds of feet below the highway at 2 p.m., and it was about 40 degrees outside. They were hundreds of feet below the highway. Their phones were nowhere to be found in the car. As Zelada climbed up the hill, she quickly located Fields’ iPhone 14. As they expected, it was shattered and had no reception.
However, a message had appeared on the phone saying the phone had detected a crash and it should be swiped to contact emergency services. Despite the screen looking like it took a bullet, Fields’ phone was still in good enough shape to text, because she had a screen protector.
The couple began texting emergency services, explaining what had happened and asking for help. For their messages and location information to be transmitted, the person on the other end would instruct them to walk a certain way or hold their phone up in a certain direction.
The two were airlifted out of the canyon within 30 minutes.
Vehicle 250 feet over the side, Monkey Canyon, Angeles Forest. #Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Air Rescue 5 on scene to conduct the rescue. LASD SEB Tactical Medics deployed and hoisted 2 victims out of the canyon. Airlifted to a trauma center. Saving lives priority 1. pic.twitter.com/uRS2qlKHWu
— SEB (@SEBLASD) December 14, 2022
Messages were sent via satellite to emergency services when the iPhone was out of range through Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature, which has Crash Detection and Fall Detection software. With this feature, an iPhone user can connect with a rescue call center, which can collect information and alert the authorities.
As a result of the emergency service center’s contact, LASD Sergeant John Gilbert, the LAFD, patrol units, and air rescue all responded to the scene.