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Video: Deputies save man from car submerged in Fla. canal thanks to iPhone alert

The phone alerted officers to the longitude and latitude of the incident



By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — An iPhone distress signal is credited with leading deputies to a vehicle submerged in a Florida canal, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office reports.

“Dramatic” body camera video shared on Facebook shows deputies arrived at 1:14 a.m. March 1 to find the vehicle upside down in thigh-deep water.

“The phone alerted them to only the longitude and latitude of the incident,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“Dispatchers were then able to get a Google map location using those coordinates. ... When units arrived to the area, they found a vehicle upside down in a canal. They could hear cries for help coming from inside the vehicle.”

The frantic video starts at the moment a deputy jumped in the canal and forced the vehicle’s door open.

Inside, the deputy found the driver shivering as he sat pinned against the dashboard. The 38-year-old driver is heard crying, gasping for breath and showing symptoms of shock.

“I’m so cold ... Can you give me a blanket, please sir? I’m freezing,” he says.

Multiple first responders eventually surround the flooded vehicle, reassuring the driver and searching for evidence he might be pinned in the car. He was pulled free at 1:28 a.m., the video shows.

“The victim was transported to the hospital where he is expected to recover,” the sheriff’s office said.

It’s estimated the driver spent about 20 minutes in the flooded vehicle.

Apple says the crash alert on phones is “designed to detect severe car crashes” and it will call “emergency services after a 20-second delay.”

“It’s technology you may not even realize you have, but this dramatic rescue should remind you of its importance, as well as the importance of sharp dispatchers,” the sheriff’s office said.

“We would like to commend our brave deputies and incredible dispatchers for their perseverance and bravery locating and rescuing this crash victim using only coordinates automatically launched from the victim’s phone.”

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