iPad Signal Helps Locate Father, Daughter Who Survived Plane Crash

By Bill Galluccio

November 16, 2021

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A father and his 13-year-old daughter who managed to survive a plane crash in the woods near Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport in Pennsylvania found themselves in a perilous situation as the temperature outside was dropping into the upper 30s.

The pair, who were not identified, took off from the airport on Sunday (November 14) evening in a two-seat, single-engine Cessna 150. The plane disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff, and officials began searching the heavily wooded area.

The United States Air Force Rescue Coordination Center provided assistance as rescue teams and roughly 30 other volunteers began a grid search of the woods, starting from the plane's last known location. The search was slow because it was dark and cold, and there was snow on the ground.

Once rescuers identified the pilot, they called his wife, who provided them with his cell phone number. They managed to ping the man's phone and discovered that his daughter had an iPad, which was transmitting a signal as well. Using that signal, they were able to locate the pair after nearly five hours.

When rescuers arrived, they found the two huddled together in a pre-hypothermic state. They were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and are expected to make a full recovery.

"The daughter saves both of them by using her iPad, and dad was cuddling the daughter to give her warmth because they were both exposed to the elements," Pennsylvania Police Sgt. John Richards said.

Officials said that it was a miracle they were able to find the two before they succumbed to the elements.

"From what I hear and see, you don't really hear of survivors, especially in the area that they crashed. It's very heavily wooded," Chief James Serafin with the Bear Creek Volunteer Hose Company told CNN. "They had to go through trees and everything else. It definitely was a miracle."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

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