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When smartphones save lives: death-dodging mobile users

Your humble smartphone isn’t just a gateway to social media, a handy way to photograph your food and an essential tool for finding your way home when you’re blasted out of your mind. It can also save your life, as these lucky souls discovered.

Just this month, hapless Chinese fella Mr Geng Ming was unfortunate enough to have a wall collapse on top of him. That could’ve been a most embarrassing end for Mr Ming, but he was apparently saved by the most unlikely thing in his possession – his Nokia Lumia 920.

Acting on instinct, Mr Ming managed to raise the phone over his head as the wall came tumbling down and the luckless Lumia helped to soften the blow from the falling rubble – or so claims this Weibo report. Seems unlikely, but the good news is that Mr Ming is alive and well-ish, and Nokia has furnished him with a spanking new Lumia 640 XL. Which isn’t as good as a Lumia 930, but at least it’s massive, for extra protection in case another inanimate object decides to topple onto him.

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Buckshot blower

Perhaps that’s difficult to swallow, but just last year an iPhone 5c saved a man’s life when he was blasted at close range by a sawn-off shotgun.

The 25-year old victim from Cheshire was confronting a gang of teenagers outside his flat when one of the teens, 19-year-old Ryan Duggan, pulled the shotgun and fired. By a stroke of sheer luck, the majority of the buckshot ended up in the victim’s iPhone 5c, which held together remarkably well considering its plastic frame. The victim was still seriously injured, but somehow managed to get back into his flat to call for an ambulance, thus automatically winning our ‘mega hard bastard’ award.

The shotgun was later recovered from beneath a bush with the spent cartridge still inside (good work, genius) and Duggan has been found guilty of attempted murder, while the victim undergoes treatment for his injuries.

This isn’t the only reported tale of a mobile phone stopping a bullet. In 2013, a petrol station worker was saved by his HTC handset when a robber shot him at point blank range, while last May a Sao Paulo police officer was shot at by a thief, only for his Nokia Lumia 520 to take the bullet instead.

Those Lumia phones seem to save more lives than 999. Perhaps Microsoft should start advertising that as a key feature.

Life saving apps

Clever apps such as Pulse Point can also help to save lives by getting help to where it’s needed, fast. Pulse Point is an app which volunteers trained in CPR download to their smartphones, which can then alert them if someone nearby is in need of assistance thanks to its ties to the emergency services. Pulse Point has already saved lives, including a one-month-old infant in Washington who was resuscitated by a mechanic last September.

In a more bizarre case, an American woman was forced to use a pizza ordering app to call for help this month, after she was held hostage by her unhinged partner.

Cheryl Treadway had her phone confiscated by her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, who threatened her and her three children with a knife after a particularly nasty argument. But Treadway managed to convince Nickerson to hand back the phone so she could order a pizza, before using the Pizza Hut mobile app to send a desperate message to her local restaurant. The manager saw her plea for help and thankfully took it seriously, alerting the police. Check out the full story.

Know of any more crazy tales of mobile gadgetry saving its owner’s life? Let us know in the comments below.


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