Miraculous iPhone Escape: Plunges 16,000 Feet from Alaska Airlines Flight Unscathed

A man inspects a hole in the cabin of a Boeing airplane, the result of a fuselage panel blowing off mid-flight (Handout)

In an extraordinary turn of events, an iPhone took a harrowing 16,000 feet plunge from an Alaska Airlines flight and landed without a single crack in the screen, with the battery still half-charged. This incident occurred when a fuselage panel blew off Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, leading to a sudden depressurization of the cabin and items being ejected from the aircraft.

The iPhone’s miraculous survival was discovered during a search for debris in the northwestern state of Washington. Sean Bates stumbled upon the device, which appeared to belong to one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight. The intact screen, a charged battery at 44 percent, and the smartphone still on flight mode were documented in a photo posted on social media.

Despite being ripped from the charger, leaving the terminal exposed, the iPhone remained virtually untouched. In a TikTok post, Bates shared that he found the phone “pretty clean, no scratches on it, sitting under a bush.” The discovery was reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which confirmed it was the second phone from the flight to be found.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy expressed gratitude to Bates and offered to meet, emphasizing the fortunate outcome that the incident did not result in tragedy. The agency plans to examine the recovered phones and return them to their owners.

The incident prompted swift action from regulatory bodies, leading to the grounding of some versions of Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 jet for inspections. This decision had immediate consequences for Boeing, with shares plunging in trading on Monday. The extraordinary survival of the iPhone adds a unique twist to the ongoing investigations into the airworthiness and safety of Boeing’s 737 Max series.