Find my iPhone condo disaster

Families, Rescue Crews Using Find My iPhone To Locate Victims In Condo Collapse

Florida Miami News
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Families Learning Loved Ones Are In Debris Before Official Reports.

BocaNewsNow.com has learned that Find My iPhone is being used in an effort to locate victims in the Surfside condo collapse. (Image: courtesy Apple).

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

SURFSIDE, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — BocaNewsNow.com has learned that at least some families — and rescuers contacted by those families — are using “Find My Phone” to locate loved ones in the collapsed Champlain South Tower in Surfside.

Boca Raton news first to report

It was not immediately clear how many “Find My Phone” pings have provided actionable information to rescue and recovery crews. Someone familiar with the situation, but not authorized to speak with media, could not confirm whether the “Find My Phone” functionality has specifically led to the recovery of a victim.

Apple’s “Find My Phone” functionality is a little publicized but often used tool for rescuers in disaster situations. While it can help rescue and recovery workers, it simultaneously adds to the stress experienced by families dealing with loss.

“We get into a situation where people know that a family member, or at least their phone, is physically in the debris. But if we can’t get to them, it only adds to the stress they feel as they wait and wait,” said the person connected to the search operation. “As good as the ‘find my’ functionality is, it doesn’t provide verticality, so we don’t know where in the debris that person or phone may be. And it’s too loud in the debris field to hear a phone beeping.”

The time of the disaster, however, may make the information less valuable.

“It’s unlikely that many people had their phones in their pockets at the time this building collapsed in the middle of the night,” added the source, “so the information may be slightly less reliable. If the phone was in another room, it may or may not have ended up anywhere near the victim.”

Among the disasters in which Find My iPhone functionality played a role: a Philadelphia-area Amtrak crash where families knew loved ones were in the debris before rescuers located victims.

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