iPhone crash detection calls cops to deadly wreck

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A passenger's iPhone automatically alerted responders to a fatal car crash in Nebraska that was called "the worst crash" in the area in some time.

The new crash detection feature of iPhone 14 was triggered after the black Honda Accord's collision around 2:15 a.m. local time in near 56th and Randolph in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"When officers arrived," said local police in a statement, "they found the car, believed to be a black Honda Accord, had been eastbound near the intersection. Preliminarily, it appears it crossed the roadway and struck a tree in a yard on the north side of Randolph St."

Unlike most of the Apple Watch accounts for cardiac issues, this story does not have a happy ending. Five of the six occupants of the car were killed instantly, and a sixth died later in hospital. That she was taken to the hospital and had any chance of survival, though, was because of the iPhone's crash detection.

According to Associated Press, local police say that there were no other vehicles involved, and also no witnesses.

"This is the worst crash in Lincoln in recent memory," Lincoln Police Assistant Chief Michon Morrow said. "The cause of this accident is going to take us some time to pin down. We are looking at all possibilities, including alcohol, speed or distracted driving."

The six victims were aged between 21 and 24, said police.

While no one witnessed the crash, locals including Brad Bartak, owner of the house, heard it and tried to help.

"I noticed that there was actually a fire coming from the engine," Bartal told local news service WOWT. "I basically grabbed the garden hose and ran it up to the car and we were dousing it."

One of the six victims has been named as Jonathan Koch, 22. His sister Kayla Kelley told reporters "He was the most amazing person you'd ever meet.

"Life is so short," she continued. "In the blink of an eye, the world is just shattering around you."

This type of crash, with no witnesses around to help, is what Apple described in its launch of the crash detection feature. "Almost half of the worst crashes occur in rural areas, and the majority involve only a single vehicle," said Apple's Deirdre Caldbeck.

Crash Detection on iPhone and Apple Watch was designed, "to help in situations like this," she continued.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal has shown that there are circumstances in which crash detection does not work. There may be multiple reasons why this is true, but it appears a key part is whether the car has been driven for long enough for the iPhone's sensors to register that the owner is driving.