iphone over pine needles
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 26, 2024 ·  4 min read

iPhone falls out of a plane and survives, with all the action recorded

Dropping your phone makes your heart plummet along with it. There’s the feeling of ‘oh no!’ and the scramble to pick it up and examine it for damage. Imagine the sinking feeling for Ernesto Galiotto, a Brazilian documentary filmmaker, whose phone falls out of a plane. He thought the phone was lost forever; after all, a phone gets damaged from falling from someone’s hand onto the floor. There was no chance it could survive such a steep drop. However, the phone survived and the camera filmed the whole experience. 

Filmmaker’s Phone Falls Out of a Plane 

Galiotto was working on one of his projects, which involved flying over a beach in Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro. He held his iPhone in one hand to shoot photos through the small plane window. Then a heavy wind thrust the phone out of his hand and into the open air. 

Galiotto assumed his phone was gone for good, as would most people in his situation. Still, he checked the Find My app, and the iPhone was still on. He went to the location indicated, an area on the beach, and found his phone with only a few scratches. 

“I had faith that I would recover it. I thought, ‘If it didn’t fall in the water, we’ll find it. For a few meters I could have hit a person — and, at that height I was flying, 2,000 feet, it was going to be a tragedy, can you imagine? But it wasn’t a tragedy, it had many emotions.” [1] 

The phone’s only protection was a screen protector and an average silicone case, yet it still survived the fall from a plane. “It’s something that, if you tell someone, they won’t believe,” Galiotto saidEspecially when you consider that the phone fell about 984 feet. 

The filmmaker uploaded a video about the experience to YouTube. The video shows him holding his phone by the plane’s window, but when he removes one hand, it flies out of his grasp. Resigned exasperation is apparent on his face as he assumes the phone would be lost forever. The fall from the plane, filmed from the descending phone, is dizzying but mesmerizing until it lands onto the sand with blades of grass towering over it. It’s miraculous that it survived with such minor damage, as Galiotto demonstrates later on in the video.  

The Video from The Camera as it Fell 

“In 15 seconds, it [the device] hit the ground. It was about 200 meters from the water,” Galiotto said. “It fell with the screen down and kept filming for an hour and a half. I think the sun recharged it, because when we arrived to recover the phone, it still had 16% charge on Saturday.” [2] 

The environmentalist joked that since he fends for nature, nature paid him back in this small way. “Hey, guys,” said Galiotto in the video. “Whether you believe it or not, the cell phone that flew from my plane is here in the middle of nature. In fact, we are the ones who help to defend nature. And nature has protected you. Now I’m going to get it.” [3] 

The phone could have fallen into the water, or worse, hit someone. The miracle of a phone falling out a plane and surviving shouldn’t hide the fact that a person could have been seriously injured. Keep that in mind in case someone wants to test the value of their own screen protector and phone case. 

Phone Falls from a Skyscraper 

This isn’t the first time a phone survived a long fall. Five years ago, a photographer was shooting photos of Dubai’s skyline from a perch on top of the Liberty House building. The phone slipped from his grasp, fell 42 storeys, and survived. Not only that, it recorded the entire fall, just like Galiotto’s did. [4] 

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Of course, these situations are flukes. Phones are not designed to fall from these heights. Ironically enough, they don’t even seem to survive falling out of pockets or dropping off the edges of tables. But sometimes physics comes through to save phones, along with the incredible footage of their descent. 

Keep Reading: ‘Strongest Seven-Year-Old Girl In The World’ Can Deadlift 80kg 


  1. iPhone 6s falls out of a plane and survives, with all the action recorded.” 9 to 5 Mac. Filipe Espósito. December 14, 2020.
  2. Man Drops iPhone From Plane. It Survives, Records Video Of Fall.” NDTV. Sanay Jain. December 16, 2020.
  3. Cell phone falls from plane, films trajectory to the ground and is recovered in Cabo Frio beach; VIDEO.” G1. Raphael Mureb and Rodrigo Marinho. December 14, 2020.
  4. How big a fall could your smartphone survive?” CNBC. Jess Rossen and Josh Davis. April 30, 2015.