How This Woman’s iPhone Saved Her Life After Her Boat Capsized at Sea

Rachel Neal Okinawa Japan Water Resistant Iphone Credit: The Today Show
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We’ve covered a number of feel-good news stories based on real-life experiences of everyday people who, although caught for a moment in the throes of life, emerge from the woods attesting that their lives were miraculously spared by an Apple device.

But while most of these stories have centered around the well-documented life-saving capabilities of Apple Watch, they aren’t just limited to the wearable.

Rachel Neal and her friends recently learned that lesson the harrowing way, while on vacation in Japan.

In a recent appearance on NBC’s The Today Show, Neal shared of her experience boarding a small boat (which her and her pals chartered for the day to visit an island off the coast of Okinawa). 

Shortly after disembarking, the boat capsized due to rough water, forcing Neal and her friends to jump overboard.

As explained during her on-air appearance, Neal keeps a “go bag” with her at all times to carry essentials like her wallet, phone and keys — and, as fate would have it, on that day she had both her own (and her friends’) phones safely packed away.

Neal told The Today Show, noting that her iPhone is water-and dust-resistant, how after landing in the water she got into the go bag to retrieve it and call for help.

Her boyfriend’s phone (which she’d also been carrying in the Go Bag) had already succumbed to water damage by then — but her iPhone was still fully functional.

iPhone Saves the Day

Ultimately, upon retrieving the device from her bag, Neal proceeded to call 119 — the Japanese emergency services equivalent to 911 in the U.S., prompting the Japanese coast guard to rescue her and her friends some 90 minutes later, she said. Watch Neal’s interview provided by The Today Show below.

“Having a go bag is like second nature for me,” Neal explained. “I have one in my car, I have one in my house, I have one when I travel.”

“We had our go bag, we put our life vest on, and I literally turned grabbed it, and just jumped. We pulled out his, his had too much water damage and didn’t work. We pulled out mine, despite the fact that it had water, it worked.”

It’s unclear which iPhone model Neal was in possession of that fateful day, but the majority of modern models (including the iPhone 7 and newer) all feature at least IP67 certification. This means they can survive fully-submerged by up-to 1 meter (or ~3-ft.) of water (or beer!) for up to 30 minutes, without accruing water damage.

In the end, not only was Neal able to provide video footage of the coast guard saving her and her pals — but her overall story captured the attention of Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, who took to Twitter shortly after calling it “remarkable,” adding that “we are glad you’re all safe.”

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