Screengrab from video
Screengrab from video

Most of our worst nightmares are realised when we accidentally end up dropping our precious smartphones from a height — be it from a flight of stairs or the window of a speeding vehicle. But imagine if your smartphone ever fell off from an airplane!

The mere thought of that ever happening is enough to scare us to the end of our wits, but that's exactly what happened with Brazillian documentary filmmaker and environmentalist Ernesto Galiotto last Friday (December 11). But that's not the end of the story; the most surprising takeaway from the accident is that Mr Galiotto's iPhone 6S survived the entire 1,000-feet fall from the aeroplane, recording its plummet all the way, and lived to tell the tale unscathed!

The documentary filmmaker was flying in a light aircraft over the Praia do Peró in Rio de Janeiro's Cabo Frio area, a popular tourist destination in Brazil. To celebrate the renewal of the International Blue Flag Seal — which recognizes the environmental quality of the beach — he was recording the landscape on a bird's eye view from the airplane.

However, disaster struck when at one point, Ernesto took his one hand off the cellphone to talk about the flag, and the hefty winds promptly swept the modest iPhone away from his grasp.

The entire scene was recorded by another camera overlooking the aircraft's tiny cabin. Right at the moment of the "disaster", the environmentalist was heard saying: "We are here looking for the Blue Flag, and oh..." He was seen visibly flabbergasted and unable to react, when out slipped his smartphone, swept by the wind.

The pilot regretted it as well. "One more... It happens," he was heard saying, indicating that he had encountered several such accidents in his career as a pilot.

However, what no one expected was that the free fall — of more than 1,000 feet in about 15 seconds — would all be recorded by the iPhone 6S.

Fortunately for the documentary filmmaker, he was able to recover the device the next morning, on Saturday (December 12), thanks to the in-built GPS tracking on the Apple device.

According to Galiotto, only the protective covering upon the iPhone screen had cracked, while the device was functioning normally.

"In 15 seconds it [the device] hit the ground. It was about 200 meters from the water and a few minutes ago there was a couple on the beach. It fell at 11:10 AM on Friday. I found the device recording for an hour and a half," the environmentalist said.

The entire incident was uploaded in the form of a short video by the documentary filmmaker on YouTube.

Even after all this, the phone still had enough battery left to "witness" its "rescue".

"I think the sun recharged the iPhone, even after it fell, because by the time we had arrived to recover it, the smartphone still had around 16% charge left," Galiotto said, "I had faith that I was going to get it back. If it didn't fall in the water, it can be found."

Screengrab from G1 report
Screengrab from G1 report

He added jokingly, "Imagine if it fell a few meters away, it could have hit a person. The device plummeted a thousand-something feet, and if it fell on someone it would most definitely have been a tragedy, you know? But when I checked the recording, it didn't carry any tragedies, only miracles."

Miracle, indeed. While a smartphone survives a 1000-feet fall in Brazil, our phones occasionally give up and die and if it fell from our pockets. Maybe all of us need a bit of Mr Galiotto's faith as well, and sturdier pockets.

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Free Press Journal