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The new crash-detection feature on the iPhone 14 warned police on Sunday of a tragic wreck that killed all six young passengers in the vehicle.
Officers say the black Honda Accord crashed into a tree in the early hours of the morning in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Five men died at the scene around 2.15 am, while a 24-year-old woman was left in critical condition and later died at a nearby hospital.
Immediately after the crash, an iPhone 14 belonging to one of the passengers alerted the emergency services.
Thanks to the iPhone feature, first responders were notified of the incident, despite there being no other witnesses to what police have described as “the worst Lincoln crash in recent history.”
The 22-year-old driver has not been named. The other victims were a 21-year-old, a 23-year-old and two 22-year-olds – including a man named Jonathan Koch.
It is unclear what caused the accident, but police say the group of friends were driving home at the time.
Six people in their 20s were killed in a car accident in Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday
Police have described as ‘worst Lincoln crash in recent history’
The iPhone 14 features a new sensor with a high-G-force accelerometer that detects when the user has been in a car accident, such as ‘side impact, rear-end collision and rollover’
Brad Bartak told WOWT that the crash happened in his front yard. His son and daughter ran into his room and said that someone had “cut out a tree.”
Six people were killed in the crash in Lincoln, Nebraska, including 22-year-old Jonathan Koch
He and his other neighbors sprang into action and tried to help before the first responders arrived. “I noticed there was actually a fire coming from the engine… I actually took the garden hose and ran it to the car and we were putting it out,” he told the news station.
Emergency services were on duty for at least five hours after arrival, onlookers said.
Upon hearing the news of the tragic crash, families and friends gathered on the spot on Bartak’s lawn.
KETV reported the scene was strewn with shredded bark. The local news station said there were skid marks along the road leading to the tree where the car crashed. Officers say the car crashed into a tree, but further details have not yet been released.
Tributes poured in for Koch from those who gathered there. Jonathan’s sister, Kayla Kelley, said, “Life is so short. In an instant the world around you collapses.’ She added: “He was the most amazing person you would ever meet.”
She described her brother as a man who loved his family, drawing and going out and spending time with his friends. He was charismatic and knew no strangers, she said.
Kelley later posted a tribute to her brother on Facebook: ‘As I sit in your bedroom gathering enough strength to write you something so beautiful, nothing I say will bring you back or show the whole universe how wonderful you are!
My heart and my families are broken into a million pieces! We are all beyond devastated, our whole world exploded like a bomb in an instant,” she wrote.
HOW DOES IPHONE 14 CRASH DETECTION WORK?
The iPhone 14 introduced a new ‘crash detection’ feature that automatically detects when the user has been in a serious car accident and calls emergency help if they are unconscious or unable to reach their phone.
Apple’s latest iPhone models feature a dual-core accelerometer — which can detect G-force readings up to 256Gs — and a new high dynamic range gyroscope.
These are used in conjunction with components in earlier iPhone models, such as the barometer, which can detect changes in cabin pressure, the GPS for additional input for speed changes, and the microphone, which can recognize loud noises characterized by serious car accidents.
Apple has trained its algorithms on more than a million hours of real-world driving and crash data to accurately detect when an accident has occurred.
If the user wears an Apple Watch, this further improves the accuracy.
When a serious crash is detected, the emergency call interface appears on Apple Watch as it is likely closer to the user, while the call is placed via iPhone if it is in range for the best possible connection.
Kaleigh Keown, another of Koch’s sisters, changed her Facebook profile picture to a photo of her and her brother in Nebraska Cornhuskers soccer jerseys.
While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, police explained how they were called after the iPhone discovered it had been in a crash and automatically called emergency responders when the user did not respond.
The iPhone 14 features a new sensor with a high-G-force accelerometer that detects when the user has been in a car accident, such as “side, rear-end, and rollover.”
The feature, called ‘crash detection’, is only activated when you are traveling in a vehicle.
“This is the worst crash in Lincoln in recent history,” Lincoln Police Chief Michon Morrow said. “We’ve tried to think of another accident like this, but we haven’t been able to think of anything.”
“I’ve been working in this department for 25 years and can’t remember anything terrible. It will take some time to determine the cause of this accident,” Morrow added.
‘We are looking at all possibilities, including alcohol, speed or distracted driving.’
So far, investigators have been unable to find any witnesses to the crash, which took place near 5600 Block of Randolph Street in Lincoln. The vehicle was believed to be traveling east when it crashed into the tree.
The Lincoln Police Department has asked anyone who has requested additional information or video of the incident to contact the LPD Non-Emergency Number at 402-441-6000 or Crime Stoppers at 402 475-3600.
Lincoln Police wrote on Twitter after the crash: “Lincoln Police Investigators are still working to inform relatives and gather evidence in a tragic nighttime collision at 56th and Randolph Street. Five men were declared dead. A woman has been taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.’
In a later update, police added: “Unfortunately, the woman who was taken to hospital succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash. This is the worst Lincoln crash in recent history. Our hearts are heavy for the victim’s families.’
The iPhone 14 was released to the US market on September 16, with technology that can detect when users are in a car accident and automatically call emergency services.
This is thanks to a dual-core accelerometer that can detect G-force readings when vehicles are hit. However, accelerometers are present in most smartphones to detect screen orientation, and the ability to detect car accidents has been available on Google Pixel phones since 2019.
The crash occurred early Sunday morning in Lincoln Nebraska
Police are still looking for witnesses to the accident, but say they have no idea so far as to the cause