Find My iPhone has been used hundreds of times to find stolen Apple devices, but police in San Jose found a new use for tracking app yesterday: rescuing a crash victim after her car plunged 500 feet down the side of mountain.
Melissa Vasquez was stranded for over 17 hours after her car flew off the side of Mt. Hamilton, and into a ravine, ejecting her from the vehicle in the process. Police were notified of the crash Monday afternoon, after the car’s OnStar program detected a crash, but when they turned up to the location they saw nothing.
12 hours later, Vasquez’s family reported her missing, but it took a tech savvy officer to figure out he could use her iPad to find her if only he knew her iTunes password.
Officer David Cameron asked the family if Vasquez also had an iPhone, and after a couple attempts he was able to successfully log in to her Find My iPhone account and view her location hidden down an embankment with thick shrubbery.
“I made an educated guess based on a series of common numbers people use for passwords and on the third attempt I was able to get in,” Cameron told ABC 11. “I think somebody was looking out for her. Things fell in place and had those things not fallen in place, it could have been a totally different story,” Cameron said.
Officers arrived at her location 20 minutes Cameron cracked the password. Vasquez was found lying face down and unable to call for help, though she was coherent and speaking to officers. Moments later rescuers lifted her onto a U.S. Coast Guard chopper and sent her to the ICU after suffering injuries to her legs and her abdomen.
She’s expected to make a full recovery. No word if the iPhone was as lucky.