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iPhone That Fell 16,000 Feet From Alaska Airlines Plane Found Still Working

An iPhone has emerged unscathed after plummeting 16,000 feet from an Alaska Airlines plane. The remarkable discovery was made by passerby Sean Bates.

The lost iPhone (on the left), Sean Bates (top right) and volunteers who came to help recover the iPhone (bottom right). Credit: X/@SeanSafyre

On Friday evening, passengers of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 heading from Portland International Airport in Oregon to Ontario International Airport in California were treated to a fright when a door plug on the plane ripped off. Among the damage caused was the loss of an iPhone, which was sucked out of the plane and fell 16,000 feet to the ground below.

This same iPhone was then “found … on the side of the road” by Sean Bates, a resident of Washington, who took to X on Sunday to write that the phone was “still in airplane mode with half a battery and open to a baggage claim” from any passengers who previously boarded the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.

Surprisingly, this was the second phone from a passenger aboard the flight to have been recovered. Bates learned this news after dialling the National Transportation Safety Board. A video on TikTok, uploaded by Bates himself, further documents the discovery. Initially skeptical, he speculated that someone might have discarded the device from their car, but upon closer inspection, he found it remarkably clean and without any visible scratches.

Recovery and Aftermath

During the incident on Friday evening, in addition to the iPhone, various components of the plane were forcefully expelled, including headrests, seat backs, and tray tables. The exit door plug was found in a teacher’s backyard near Portland, Oregon, the departure city requiring the emergency landing.

Following the incident, the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, which was the particular model of plane from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until the agency is satisfied with its safety measures. As a result, over 300 Alaska Airlines and United Airlines flights have been cancelled as these are the only U.S. passenger airlines utilizing this aircraft type.

Written By

First-year English student and aspiring writer at University College London.

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