A man was saved by technology late Friday evening after he drove off a cliff in the Mt. Wilson area, plummeting nearly 400 feet before his car finally came to a stop.
According to deputies with the Crescenta Valley Station of Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, they were contacted by an iPhone communication center at around 10:30 p.m., alerting them of a crash on Mt. Wilson Road.
Mike Leum, one of the members of Montrose Search and Rescue, says that the man was bleeding from the head while they rescued him and that his car was totaled in the incident.
"I believe that if we didn't have that good location information in a timely manner, he probably would've bled out," Leum said. "I kept telling him how lucky he was."
The phone, an iPhone 14, used a feature that instantly reports a crash to 9-1-1 via satellite, in the event that the user is not able to make the call themselves. Using GPS positioning, the iPhone reported the coordinates of where the car ended up after veering off the road.
After receiving the text, an operator at the communication center was able to call the nearest law enforcement agency, which was Crescenta Valley Station.
Upon arrival, deputies said that they could hear a man yelling and rescuers were able to locate the vehicle approximately 400 feet below the road.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter was able to lower a pair of rescuers to hoist the man to safety.
"He was 400 feet down in a canyon with virtually no way out," said Steve Goldsworthy, the Rescue Operations Leader of Montrose Search and Rescue. "So, who knows when, or if, we would've located him."
They say he's lucky to have the newest version of technology installed on the phone, which can contact authorities via satellite, rather than just calling 9-1-1 like older versions, since there's essentially no cell reception in the area where he crashed.
"The location that we got from the iPhone activation was spot on," Goldsworthy said. "It was basically his phone on its own, calling for help on his behalf."
Deputies say it may have been days before they learned of the crash, and even longer until they were able to locate him due to the remote location.
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