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Find My IPhone Used To Locate Plane Crash In Chile

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the last-call dept.

Iphone 95

spagiola writes "Late last week, a military transport aircraft with 17 people on -board went missing near Robinson Crusoe, Chile. The relatives of one of the crash victims logged into Find My iPhone and were able to isolate the coordinates of the last known whereabouts of the plane before it crashed. From the article: 'Rear Admiral Francisco García-Huidobro explained the founding that garnered a lot of attention today, and it has to do with an iPhone belonging to one of the victims of the aereal accident in Juan Fernández, in a beach in Bahía Carvajal. The phone signal could be captured thanks to the GPS system, however, water ended up shutting it down. Nevertheless, García Huidoro explained that they managed to plot the last position from where the signal was last generated, which will be made public tomorrow.'"

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Cool (2)

Fayn (1003629) | about 3 years ago | (#37333586)

Although it's not just limited to the iPhone. http://www.locatemydroid.com/ [locatemydroid.com] Really, though, this is pretty awesome.

Re:Cool (-1, Troll)

zoloto (586738) | about 3 years ago | (#37334994)

fanboy much?

Re:Cool (1)

pyrosine (1787666) | about 3 years ago | (#37336994)

He pointed out people shouldn't be worshiping the iPhone because other smart phones have the exact same feature - hardly being a "fanboy"

Bah! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333590)

An Android phone would have lasted until the search party arrived!

Re:Bah! (4, Funny)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | about 3 years ago | (#37333694)

An Android phone would have lasted until the search party arrived!

The coming iPhone 5 would have safely landed the plane.

Re:Bah! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333972)

A Windows phone would've prevented the plane from taking off at all!

Re:Bah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334318)

Not only that but the plane would have exploded at the terminal taking out the control tower and leaving chaos in it's wake. ;P

Re:Bah! (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | about 3 years ago | (#37335032)

Well played, sir. Well played.

Re:Bah! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37335434)

A Windows phone would've prevented the plane from taking off at all!

A BlackBerry plane would have used a more reliable propeller driven motor!

Re:Bah! (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | about 3 years ago | (#37336850)

A webOS phone would have aborted the flight soon after take-off.

Re:Bah! (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | about 3 years ago | (#37338142)

A MeeGo phone would have prevented the plane from ever being built in the first place.

Re:Bah! (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#37337484)

Forget the coffee on the keyboard, I just shatmyself laughing so hard. Mr Coward, I tip my hat to you.

Re:Bah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334168)

lol the Android phone is probably what crashed the plane...it's so adept at crashing itself

Re:Bah! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37335404)

An Android phone would have lasted until the search party arrived!

Heh yeah, it'd still be broadcasting a signal of all the phone's personal data.

Which also explains the cause of the crash... (4, Funny)

Halo1 (136547) | about 3 years ago | (#37333630)

... someone didn't switch off their phone.

Satellite GPS messenger (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333702)

It'd be even better if the planes were carrying something like:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=102

This is a GPS receiver with a to-satellite transmitter attached, which would be much reliable than depending on a) someone leaving their phone on, and b) being in cell range.

Re:Satellite GPS messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334498)

Except, with Spot, somebody has to be alive enough to press the button. There's no remotely querying its location.

Re:Satellite GPS messenger (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about 3 years ago | (#37334704)

The company I work for uses this: http://www.skytrac.ca/pg_Home.php [skytrac.ca]

It allows real-time tracking from any browser using there site (with login of course). It also allows flight following with Google Earth.

Re:Satellite GPS messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337658)

using there site

Where site?

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 3 years ago | (#37333778)

And the plane crashed... This is why they tell you to swtich off your phone..

But really.. They could have been using cell phone triangulation to find this without GPS for years.. I dunno why people don't think of this stuff.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333896)

well it is more difficult when you crash in the middle of the sea. The Robinson Crusoe archipelago is where Alexander Selkirk ended up lost in an island, and was the origin of the Robinson Crusoe book.
So, there are not so many cellphone towers there.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 3 years ago | (#37337896)

The Robinson Crusoe archipelago is where Alexander Selkirk ended up lost in an island, and was the origin of the Robinson Crusoe book.

Wow, that's one of those really weird coincidences like Lou Gehrig catching Lou Gehrig's disease.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 3 years ago | (#37334484)

Did you look at a map? The plane crashed near an island which is 600 Kilometres away from the Chilenian coast. I dare say that the lack of cell towers would make a triangulation through said cell towers a bit difficult.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 3 years ago | (#37334854)

I dare say that the lack of cell towers would make a triangulation through said cell towers a bit difficult.

Of course, it would also make talking to the iPhone difficult if the iPhone can't reach any cell phone towers.

The iPhone may know exactly where it is thanks to it's GPS ... but without cell phone towers, it can't tell anybody. Except the owner, but he already knows.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 3 years ago | (#37339066)

This is not a large island. Which means it probably has only one celltower.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37343554)

Would signal data be enough to at least give them a distance from that tower?

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333790)

hahahaha people are dead, lets laugh!

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333858)

They can lose a military transport that easy? Or worse yet, they can track on that easy using a phone?

Don't these aircraft have something more advanced than an iphone app, and for the sake of security, even if they weren't on a military mission shouldn't have that been reason enough to turn off possible tracking devices, such as phones? God knows, we read articles about phone tracking every day.

I wonder if missiles can be made to follow the emissions of a phone. That could have some interesting applications.

Not every military flight is a combat mission (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37334084)

Military aircraft in the region are often used to support scientific missions and for other civilian purposes. Even if a true military flight, say transportation of cargo, they may allow civilians and off duty military personnel to hitch a ride if there is nothing classified on board. Not every military flight is performed under combat conditions. Sometimes they communicate with civilian air traffic control, have their transponder broadcasting an ID, have all the navigation lights turned on, and may very well allow personal gadgets on board and perhaps even powered up.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

ChikMag777 (1337235) | about 3 years ago | (#37334370)

Well, you'd need to know the altitude first, and then what kind of delay there is between the phone reporting it's location and how soon it shows up online.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

petman (619526) | about 3 years ago | (#37336708)

I'm pretty sure GPS also gives out altitude information.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37335582)

Don't these aircraft have something more advanced than an iphone app

that was my first thought. 2011 and we can't find planes when they crash unless someone onboard has an iPhone? Plane worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and we have to use a $250 iPhone to find it, doesn't that seem wrong?

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37344746)

The iPhone is a $550-600 phone, you're forgetting the price you normally see is the one subsidised by a contract.

You sorta contradict yourself (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 3 years ago | (#37357904)

If it's military, it often DOESN'T want to be easy to track. So I don't think you'll find an RFP from the Program Office for their military planes adding a requirement for a squawk that anyone can track. But, yes they should have on during a normal flight a friend indicator for air traffic control. However, it might be possible their SOPs didn't tell them to turn it on for whatever reason. Only their pilots could answer this question.

Having flown on French, Canadian, German, US and 2 or 3 I'm forgetting, military transport planes, I can tell you there is no "preflight" announcement usually, other than night flights in Afghanistan where they have to remind the idiots to not create any illumination (e.g. iPods, people reading books if you can believe it, etc) so people on the ground have a target to shoot at.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333950)

The FAA/FCC requires phones be off in the US, but in some countries, leaving your electronics turned on is not a violation of any sort and repeated testing has never borne out the concrete risk from low-power electronics. Some airlines are actually offering picocell service on planes now.

Certainly, a kilowatt broadcast in a plane or a high power magnetic field will disrupt instrumentation.

But of course, I'm sure you were being sarcastic. :-)

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

deroby (568773) | about 3 years ago | (#37337030)

On boarding I once got a leaflet telling me I couldn't use my laserprinter while flying.... real story, should have kept & scanned the thing.

Re:Which also explains the cause of the crash... (1)

NuShrike (561140) | about 3 years ago | (#37337676)

Probably more realistic during the signal-pulsey days of TDMA/GSM before we all switched to the quiet CMDA variant.

Not 17 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333638)

There were 21 people on-board, and 4 bodies were recovered. The chances to recover the last 17 bodies are almost null.

Not 17, 21 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333656)

That plane had 21 passengers, all presumed dead. :(

Probably caused the crash (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333658)

The iPhone needed to be on for this to work. As we all know, having broadcasting electronics on during a flight will cause a plane to spontaneously explode.

Missing near Robinson Crusoe? (1)

seandiggity (992657) | about 3 years ago | (#37333674)

Who needs GPS to figure that out?

wow (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37333676)

yes there are millions of people with gps applications in their pocket, glad someone found something useful for it

innacurate info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333682)

it had 21 people on board, not 17

Military? (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 3 years ago | (#37333690)

Where the people on board military or civilians bringing aid to the earthquake affected area?

I'd be interested if any military doesn't allow this sort of program since location of a classified or covert operation could easily be shown. Or if someone hacks an account they could track where the person goes/where their base is/etc...

Re:Military? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333750)

There were 6 Airmen, carrying 15 civilians who were helping to rebuild the island after the 2010 tsunami.

Military operated, but was a civilian trip (4, Informative)

Sir Mal Fet (1402403) | about 3 years ago | (#37333932)

To put this in a bit of context, Robinson Crusoe Island (Isla Juan Fernandez is the official name) is very isolated and mostly inhabited by fishermen, and some scientific personnel. It was heavily struck by the tsunami after the earthquake last year, so the national state TV (TVN) conducted a series of short shows about the reconstruction of the island. The flight was carrying personnel to record a follow-up show.

This was a military operated flight, but only brought civilians (two well-known TV presenters, persons from the National Culture Council, camera men, producers, and people related with the TV network, a businessman and philanthropist which had a ONG regarding the reconstruction, and personnel of said ONG) to record the show, so to answer your question, no, probably there were no problems regarding the tracking of military operations.

So far the weather conditions plus the fact that the plane crashed at sea has caused that only few bodies have been found (4 confirmed out of 21), so the signal from the iPhone was an important lead to the victims' bodies whereabouts. It certainly beats the clairvoyants they are also using (seriously).

Re:Military operated, but was a civilian trip (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 3 years ago | (#37334042)

I wasnt questioning it on this particular instance, I was just curious in place such as Pakistan where a covert sometimes legal, sometimes illegal operation may occur, if someone has such a tracking program on their phone whether they are just expected to not bring a phone or if just such programs are outright disallowed.

On further reflection I guess this data is already stored in iPhones at some level in the way that created a big stink earlier this year.

If you dont want people knowing where soldiers have gone, its good to keep in mind that these sorts of tracking are in very commonly used day to day devices.

Re:Military operated, but was a civilian trip (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 3 years ago | (#37342076)

ONG es en espaniol, en inglés se dice NGO (Non-governmental organization)

Re:Military? (1)

spectro (80839) | about 3 years ago | (#37336714)

Chilean Air Force and Navy make regular trips to supply their remote islands (Juan Fernandez, Easter Island). It is pretty normal to catch a ride in one of these planes or Navy transports if you know somebody. They had to fly there anyways so all these civilians tagged along.

Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (3, Interesting)

Kylon99 (2430624) | about 3 years ago | (#37333712)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571 [wikipedia.org]
Hearing of a crash in Chile brings up memories of the Andes flight accident in 1972, or better known to some people as the movie, "Alive". Ok, so this time the crash was nowhere near the Andes, but an island.

But I've always wondered what would've happened if in 1972, they had GPS and mapping technology the way we do today. They could've easily seen where they were without the guesswork and literally strolled off the mountain to the east in less than a day, perhaps. A 20km walk to the east would've gotten them to the highway at least... and at least they would've been off the mountain into thicker and a warmer atmosphere. Not to mention they may have been able to forage for food quickly. ( http://maps.google.com/maps/place?q=Uruguayan+Air+Force+Flight+571+-+Mendoza+Province,+Argentina&hl=en [google.com] )

I hope technology will improve our chances of survival with accidents like this in the future.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335698)

What would have happened? The batteries would have gone flat ... that's what would have happened.

Or maybe these people are really, really bright, turn off all their phones bar one, turn off everything except GPS and ... oh dear, they don't have any maps because they are downloaded from the nearby cellular tower ... in the Andes. Not.

Oh dear. This isn't going well.
So these crashed people now have their latitude and longitude.
Not that helpful, really.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 3 years ago | (#37336066)

I think you're being a little bit disingenuous here.

I'm not sure what kind of GPS application the iPhone or Android have by default, but every Nokia product I've owned since the N95 (and plenty of Garmin / Magellen units over the years) minimally have major cities and often major roads included by default. On the N900 I have about 9 different mapping applications installed, all of these can be used without cellular or wifi because they all have the ability to use maps that are stored on the file system. I'm pretty sure both the iPhone and Android would have this capability as well, either natively or via 3rd party program.

While you might set out on a journey haphazardly picking up your maps on the go, some of us actually make preparations in advance.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

deroby (568773) | about 3 years ago | (#37337132)

Wow! You're saying that if you fly from say Brussels to Cairo, you make sure you have the maps of all countries your plane will "traverse" in case the plane would crash ? Now, that is preparation indeed !

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 3 years ago | (#37337946)

every Nokia product I've owned since the N95 (and plenty of Garmin / Magellen units over the years) minimally have major cities and often major roads included by default

If you crash in the middle of the Andes you are unlikely to be near any major cities or roads.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 3 years ago | (#37335900)

Obviously, if someone had been carrying their GPS Map device, they'd've been able to find their way out. I wonder, though, about your typical smart phone. Many mapping applications nowadays use the Internet. No Internet, no map. I would--perhaps rashly--tend to doubt they had cellphone coverage where they crashed. So while they might be able to figure that they were 34.765 degrees South and 70.286389 degrees West, that might not have been much help without appropriate maps showing latitude and longitude. I would assume that planes have those (of course, nowadays they want to put that on an iPad which may not be the best of ideas...)

Also, most phones have AGPS--Assisted GPS. I don't know how well they work without a reasonable cellular network behind them. The closest example I can give is my folk's place in Vermont, which doesn't have decent cellphone coverage. The map application on my iPhone tends to be off by miles and, occasionally, tens of miles. Of course, the issue there is that they live in a place where the only "clear" sky they have is to the south. North, west, and east are blocked by hills. That might explain the issues of GPS accuracy if it can't get a signal from the satellites because the hills block them. This probably wouldn't be an issue where the survivors were, so they might be able to get a good fix from the GPS satellites.

The only other issue that comes to mind is the extreme cold. As I understand it, batteries don't really like the cold and that might affect how long your typical garden-variety smartphone would work.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37336856)

Also, most phones have AGPS--Assisted GPS. I don't know how well they work without a reasonable cellular network behind them.

In my experience (and from what I read about it), it's as it says: assisted. The phone will use the mobile network to help find an initial fix - how accurate that is depends on the network. And if I understand it correctly, it even needs a network connection (wifi, mobile data) for that to work. It can be as accurate as 10 meters or so. It is mainly used to get a quick initial location fix; it can take over 10 minutes for GPS to get a fix, as it takes that long to get exact time/location data from the satellites. Something like that. I don't know the innards of GPS too well. But what I do know is that sometimes it takes really long to get a fix, especially after phone has been off (e.g. while changing batteries).

The closest example I can give is my folk's place in Vermont, which doesn't have decent cellphone coverage. The map application on my iPhone tends to be off by miles and, occasionally, tens of miles. Of course, the issue there is that they live in a place where the only "clear" sky they have is to the south. North, west, and east are blocked by hills.

Unless you're in a canyon, there should be no issue with mountains. Mountains basically only rise the horizon a bit. I never have problems with mountains (also not on 30 degree slopes with the peaks towering some 500m above you). That your map app is so wildly inaccurate, that's for another reason.

Problems for GPS are blocking the view of the skies (like when you are in a canyon, or under thick foliage, even a thick cloud cover can be a problem), distortions of the signal in the ionosphere, and reflections. The latter you will experience in cities with many highrises, there the signal tends to be very jumpy.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | about 3 years ago | (#37345746)

I was thinking along those lines too and then I remembered; the primary source for their GPS technology would be from the cockpit. Airplanes today would have a GPS tracker and probably enough maps for their route.

In other words, the pilots wouldn't have even made the miscalculation of not flying through the pass far enough; they would've seen that either they had enough fuel to make it or not enough and turned back.

If they did somehow crash, their last GPS position should have been known as well by rescuers. I guess, only if none of the above happened for whatever reason would the GPS data from the cockpit have to be puzzled out by the survivors if there was some kind of log they could access. They could stand a good chance at that, I'd think.

Maybe someone with more aviation experience could speak about this...

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37347936)

OK I don't have aviation experience other than as passenger.

GPS as I said is passive by nature - only if the plane actively sends back its location to say the control tower they know where it is. That's to this date - think of the trouble they had locating that Air France flight over the ocean, besides that it was of course deep sea, they only had a rough idea on where the plane had come down. And where it came down was probably out of range of normal traffic control.

Also planes are going much faster than your car, and if you get lost you can't just stop and have a good look at the map. GPS tech helps with that, but won't fully prevent it. At some 800 km/hr (typical speed of a jetliner) you do 13 km in a minute. So by the time you see the mountain (assuming good visibility) you have barely a minute to react to it. That's not much!

And for the GPS logs: they are usually kept electronically, and after a plane crash usually power is out as well. So that's another complication. Of course these days good chance of someone having a GPS enabled phone, or hand-held GPS device on them, so they could check their position after the crash.

offline maps dude (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 3 years ago | (#37349334)

Is it so hard to download the offline maps for Openstreetmap?

http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org]

Yes its for iphone too.

The whole planet might take 9gig + but thats nothing on a 64gig iphone

Re:offline maps dude (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 3 years ago | (#37354676)

Is it so hard to download the offline maps for Openstreetmap?

Nope. But I don't imagine that most airline passengers actually do this before they fly.

The whole planet might take 9gig + but thats nothing on a 64gig iphone

Pity they don't make one of those--highest is 32GB.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37338598)

I don't know the exact circumstances or the terrain where this plane crashed, but some things are clear.

It was high up in a mountain in the snow, during winter. You don't walk 20 km in a day in those conditions, especially not people that are not used to that (like your average airplane passenger aka crash survivor). The plane wreckage provided them with shelter, which you won't find easily elsewhere on a mountain. Probably the people involved also didn't have (enough) warm clothes and so to make it.

The WP article even mentions about a group trying to make it out by walking down, on the first day finding the tail section of the plane, and the second day still not having found any shelter nearly froze to death. That's how far they got. And indeed they were walking east, so the correct direction.

OTOH as a general rule of thumb I learned that the best way to go is down. Always down. So that part they were correct. You will eventually find a stream, then a river - and that's where you most likely can find other people. Find a road, even better.

And by the way the WP article is talking about an abandoned hotel 18 miles (so some 30 km) away. Very well possible that the road you're referring to didn't exist 40 years ago.

Re:Uruguayan Air _Force_Flight_571 (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 3 years ago | (#37358016)

It's a little known fact, but Ronald Reagan made the decision back in the 80's that we'd allow civilian use of GPS after the Russians shot down the civilian passenger plane that had veered off course, and into their airspace. It was Sept 1, 1983. Selective Avail was set to next to nothing and A/S was off. So civilians had near-military level of precision. In the early 90s it was turned, effectively, completely off. I was on one of the crews and one of 4 Satellite System Operators that turned it the induced error to "0" (zero) on the entire constellation (it took two crews, each with 2 SSOs due to time, and proximity to normal crew changeover)

Plane GPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37333818)

I don't get it, why didn't the plane have a similar system?

Gee (1)

Jaktar (975138) | about 3 years ago | (#37333878)

Gee, how did we ever find plane crashes before we had iPhones? You'd think we need to tape an iPhone to the fuselage of every plane to keep track of all these things. Is there some kind of app for air traffic controllers to keep track of all these airborne iPhones? Is there one for Android? Someone needs to get on this.

Re:Gee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334668)

Yeah really. Don't airplanes come with GPS yet? Steve Jobs needs to invent the iPlane.

I call shenanigans. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334078)

For this scenario to be true, the iPhone would

A) Have to be intact and not hung post-crash
B) Not be submerged to any depth
C) Be connected to the cellular network in order to get the self-location push request

And this happened at sea? After a massive impact that shredded everyone? I don't buy it.

Re:I call shenanigans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334216)

Did you read the summary at all?

The iPhone was shut down by water; they're using its last known position from before the crash.

Re:I call shenanigans. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334286)

Yes I did, which is why I called shenanigans. This can't be being performed with the iCloud/MobileMe Find My iPhone service, because that service does not cache any last known locations. It's a live request designed for live devices. Otherwise Apple would be randomly uploading and collecting GPS locations which... hrm... seemed to have caused a fracas just a little while ago.

For this scenario to work, the relative would have had to trigger a location request BEFORE the crash, or else the carrier would have to go into their own database and see what towers that IMEI had touched last. Which is probably what happened, if this happened at all.

And again, it is OVER THE SEA. Where are the towers to return the location results in the MobileMe scenario? And where are the towers to return the A-GPS results for the E911 call in the carrier scenario?

Re:I call shenanigans. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37334808)

Otherwise Apple would be randomly uploading and collecting GPS locations which... hrm... seemed to have caused a fracas just a little while ago.

So, aren't you glad we never turned it off like we promised? Look the benefits that can come from such services. So please let us turn it back on ..... er, I mean leave it on. Um, what I meant is ......

Re:I call shenanigans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334412)

For this scenario to be true, the iPhone would

A) Have to be intact and not hung post-crash
B) Not be submerged to any depth
C) Be connected to the cellular network in order to get the self-location push request

And this happened at sea? After a massive impact that shredded everyone? I don't buy it.

A. The last signal was BEFORE the crash
B. See above
C. I'm not sure where the crash actually was, but if it was close to the island, it's certainly possible that there is a cell tower on it. A single tower could be line of sight for a plane for quite some distance.

Re:I call shenanigans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334826)

Then A) It wasn't a Find My iPhone request. Those things aren't cached, and there's no reasonable explanation why someone would perform Find My iPhone on someone who is expected to be on an airplane.

And if it was close enough to the island for cellular service, don't you think a sea full of wreckage bits would be close enough for visual location? None of this story adds up.

Re:I call shenanigans. (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 3 years ago | (#37335292)

Not after the crash; the phone managed to connect to a data network sometime before the plane crashed. I've (accidentally) left my phone on and later noticed that it connected to a cell network somewhere over the midwest during a coast-to-coast flight. So it's possible even at cruising altitude.

Ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334112)

I am not looking fwd to all these fake ass "phone is awesome" storys that are going to come with the new iphone5 marketing hype engine gearing up.

iphone is awsome! it could help recover your charred corpse from a plane crash!
buy iphone today!
buy it!
obey!
consume!

I'm getting tired of some technology.... :|

Re:Ugh. (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 3 years ago | (#37334452)

Yeah, because Apple staged this crash, it never really happened, and those people aren't really dead. Glad you saw through that, Grissom.

Re:Ugh. (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37335614)

I'm getting tired of some technology.... :|

Get Out!

Post when an iPhone safely lands a plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334232)

Why is this news? Oh, right, it has iPhone involved.

Seriously, cell companies have used this kind of capability for years in Canada, long before iPhone, to assist search and rescue operations. A few years back, a guy was found, alive, on an island in British Columbia thanks to the searchers knowing the last tower that received signal from his cell phone. And they didn't even FIND the crash site thanks to find my iPhone, they simply know the last location prior losing contact with the iPhone...so it isn't even an accurate news item.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334402)

Why can't "find my iphone" find a iphone 5 "left" in a bar in San Francisco?

WE MUST EAT THE BODIES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37334758)

Find My IPhone? Oops, nevermind.

It's a cover story... (2)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37334772)

The wreck contained a missing prototype IPhone which was located and recovered by the Apple Security Scuba Team.

Missing from the summary: Who was on that plane? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | about 3 years ago | (#37335492)

Felipe Cubillos, progressive businessman and beloved philanthropist, leader of post-earthquake rebuilding campaign "Desafio Levantémos a Chile" (Lift Up Chile Challenge).
Felipe Camiroaga, TV personality and reporter, on the flight to do a story on rebuilding efforts being conducted on the islands.

founding? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 3 years ago | (#37335530)

'Rear Admiral Francisco GarcÃa-Huidobro explained the founding that garnered a lot of attention today

Apple was founded in 1976, but I struggle to see how that's relevant.

So, the take-away from this is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335580)

every plane should be equipped with an iPhone. They could rename it: Find My Plane

Headline should have read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37335858)

Find My iPhone App Used to Locate Plane Crash in Chile

GPS (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 3 years ago | (#37336000)

surely the plane had a GPS as well?

I mean, were they relying on the iPhone for navigation?

that might explain something...

Re:GPS (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37336894)

It seems you don't understand how GPS works.

For starters: GPS is passive. A GPS device knows where it is; but the GPS satellites have no idea who is listening to their signals, if anyone at all, let alone where they are. So while the plane likely had GPS receivers, so the pilot knows where they are, the plane normally doesn't tell the world where it is.

In this case said phone apparently has a tracking function active, and regularly sends its current location to a tracking server. Then the wife of one of the victims logged in to that server, pulled down the last received location from that phone, and told authorities about it.

Re:GPS (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 3 years ago | (#37367294)

I'm pretty sure every airline knows where their planes are at any given moment.

Unless this was a private plane, I find it surprising that something wasn't tracking its location.

Re:GPS (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37369116)

I'm pretty sure every airline knows where their planes are at any given moment.

If you mean that as in "at which airport, or on which route, and when it will arrive at the next destination" then sure, they will know.

If you mean with that as in "at which exact location above the globe" with exact being less than km resolution, then I'd guess not. Even so, when there is a problem with a plane and it loses contact for whatever reason, it may easily be 100 km away from such a point by the time of a crash.

Yes and no (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 3 years ago | (#37358196)

Just to give context, the FAA until very recently banned usage of GPS for navigation. They wanted pilots to rely on tried and true legacy practices that were proven. Only recently have they opened up to allowing GPS usage.

Chile appears to buy military planes from the US, from a quick Google search I did. However, they would more likely have utilized a dual system that is called INS/GPS. GPS gives an initial fix, but then inertial navigation system is used. Pilots aren't like car drivers. They don't just turn on the Tom Tom and wait for a voice to tell them, "Turn left in 1/2 mile." A pilot, especially military, will be very highly trained in instrument rated flying, etc and you can't really blame GPS. The closest I've heard to blaming it is when a US plane crashed in Croatia, killing Secretary Brown [wikipedia.org] . After the subsequent investigation, there were directives put out, which mandated systems be compatible with European communication systems (the Europeans had split the 25 MHz-wide signal for Air Traffic, and we had older systems which weren't compliant, so this plane was forced to land on a lesser used runway) and then anything with GPS has to have a standard SAASM chip (ensures proper decryption of the more precise or electronically encrypted signal).

For the reply that GPS knows where it is. If it's JUST a GPS, no it doesn't. GPS sets take a long time when first turned on precisely for this reason. Some will download the entire ephemeris dataset which tells them things like constellation health, etc, but primarily they are starting from scratch in solving for 3 or more distances. A GPS signal is sorta like playing Marco- Polo at the local pool, except the "MARCO" shout is timestamped. The speed of RF is roughly the speed of sound. If you know the time of transmission, roughly the time of receipt and the speed, you can solve for distance. Do this 3 or more times and you have 2 dimensional references (lat and long). 4 satellites give you the 3rd dimension, altitude. As your GPS set continues to track, it's refining the timing reference point, and doing a better job approximating the 3, 4 or more distances. There's also an influence of GDOP, or, geometric dilution of precision. Which simply means, if you track 3 or 4 satellites right next to each other, your fix won't be as precise. You want satellites as far as possible from each other. With 25+ up there (24 operational with spares galore), it's easy to get a fix on 5 or 6 and then pick and choose. Cheap sets won't do this, and hence will take longer to get as precise (if ever).

Island Airport (1)

kodomo (1100141) | about 3 years ago | (#37336090)

A view of the smqll airport in the island http://g.co/maps/cb8tz [g.co] A half mile long track, in between to cliffs. Currently lands about 300+ flights in a year.

Props to Find my iPhone (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 3 years ago | (#37339186)

My wife's phone was stolen from her hospital room while she was down the hall getting an MRI. We suspected the hospital staff but of course there was no way to prove it. Later that day I logged onto the Find my iPhone website and saw that it was in a neighborhood about 20 miles away. I drove to the edge of the subdivision where it was pointing me to and I called the police to let them know that I had tracked down a stolen iPhone and that I needed their help getting it back. They sent out an officer who took a look at the map on my computer screen and then drove over to where it said to go (I had to stay put). About 20 minutes later he came back empty-handed and said "I looked around but I didn't see the phone. I talked with a few people but no one else has seen it either. Sorry, buddy". He then instructed me NOT to go looking for it myself, but looking at the dot on the screen KNOWING that it's in some house less than a mile away, I just couldn't sit idle. I drove to the house where the blue dot was and knocked on the door but there was no answer. Next door there was a woman and her children sitting on the porch so I walked over and explained the situation. She immediately let me know that the woman in that house has two jobs - one of them as a cleaning lady at the hospital my wife was admitted into. The other job was a similar position at a nearby hospital, where she was working at that moment. I called the officer back and explained to him what I found out and he went to the hospital, rounded up the woman and brought her back to her house. A few minutes later she and the officer walked out with my wife's phone in hand. He gave it back to me and gave me some information to follow up on if we decided to press charges, which we did. As far as I know that woman lost both of her jobs and is currently waiting on a court date for sentencing. Since it was over a certain dollar amount ($300 maybe?) it was considered a felony and she could serve a couple years in jail.

Moral of the story? If you steal someone's phone, turn it off so they can't track it. ;-p

Re:Props to Find my iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37341204)

He then instructed me NOT to go looking for it myself, but looking at the dot on the screen KNOWING that it's in some house less than a mile away, I just couldn't sit idle....

I called the officer back and explained to him what I found out and he went to the hospital, rounded up the woman and brought her back to her house

So you went looking for the phone after the police officer explicitly told you not too, and then after determining the thief called back the exact same police officer to tell him who had it?

Am I the only one surprised that the police officer didn't charge this guy with failure to obey a law enforcement officer? I would assume the directive not to go looking for someone with your stolen property is a public safety directive. What if she had been home and answered the door holding a gun? Is your wife's Iphone really worth getting shot in the head over?

If I get pulled over for turning right on red at an intersection where it is not allowed and receive a warning I have a great idea. The very next day I am going to turn right on red at the same intersection and if I don't get pulled over will call the officer that gave me the warning and tell him what I just did. If all goes according to plan he will understand that I'm a moron that can't take direction, from a law enforcement individual no less, and give my a stipend to use toward paying my fine when I invariably get caught making the same right turn on red again.

Re:Props to Find my iPhone (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 3 years ago | (#37341556)

I actually expected a little flak from the cop for disobeying him, too. He actually thanked me and said "nice work".

Wrong figure in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37339454)

The flight had 21 passangers, not 17.

samzenpus, for a /. poster, you are doing it oh so wrong. Can't fail in such basic data.

One is compelled to wonder.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 years ago | (#37339906)

... why someone is sharing their Apple ID password with someone else?

There can be a small assortment of things associated with an Apple ID that you're not supposed to be sharing with *anybody*... not even one's spouse.

21 PEOPLE NOT 17 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37373726)

21 people on -board

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