The kind of Motif case that protected Walker's iPhone.
If you drop your phone all the time, Staff Sergeant Ron Walker's story sheds hope that miracles can happen. This U.S. Air Force Combat Controller, a jump master, was scouting out locations for a parachute drop when his glass-screen iPhone 4 fell out of his pocket about 1,000 feet in the air above North Carolina and into a wooded area. He was not only able to retrieve the phone, but it was also intact, without a scratch on it, "not even dirty."
This is not a tall tale — although the drop was taller than a 90-story skyscraper — but one relayed to iLounge via email, from the fallen iPhone.
iLounge said that Walker believed "the phone’s fall may have been slowed by tree leaves and needles as it made its way towards land."
Walker also contacted Apple blog Tuaw with his story.
Tuaw's Dave Caolo walked readers through Walker's account:
He stuck his body out of the plane's open door to look for landmarks as the plane sped through the air at 130 knots (about 150 mph), about 1,000 feet above the ground. As he did so, the Velcro seal on his pocket flew open, and out popped his iPhone. Airman Walker could do nothing but watch it fall away from the plane; he assumed it was lost forever, not to mention destroyed by the fall.
But, as fate would have it, his iPhone was wearing a Griffin Motif for iPhone 4 case. Made of thermoplastic polyurethanes, it is "durable, flexible, scuff- and tear-resistant," according to the Griffin site, and stiffer than Griffin's silicone-based FlexGrip cases, but more flexible than its hard polycarbonate cases.
We don't know if that case had some kind of protective spell over it, but Walker also had some luck, friends and an app helping him out.
Later, he told his tale of loss to his colleagues on the ground, one of whom installed the Find My iPhone app on his iPhone. Within minutes, the app found the wayward phone, still active, and Walker and his buddy hopped on ATVs and tracked it down in a wooded area about 2 miles away.
We wouldn't be surprised if this spurs a spate of people dropping their iPhones from tall skyscrapers, but good luck matching Walker's luck.
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