By Staff Writer ( | First Posted: Aug 03, 2015 12:09 AM EDT

The Facebook and WhatsApp app icons are displayed on an iPhone on February 19, 2014 in San Francisco City. Facebook Inc. announced that it will purchase smartphone-messaging app company WhatsApp Inc. for $19 billion in cash and stock (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A mobile gadget that can survive falling from a point higher than Mt. Everest, the highest peak on Earth, must be worth its price. Judging by the continued success enjoyed by the company that Steve Jobs had co-founded, the same could be said of the iPhone.

Although a number of drop tests have been made involving Apple's best-selling product, one was unwittingly conducted last week after businessman Ben Wilson accidentally dropped his handset while on a flight. The device survived a 9,300-feet free fall from the plane - with some help from a protective case.

"Wilson, the owner of natural-gas equipment company Gas Corporation of America, didn't intend to test the durability of his iPhone or protective case," NBC News reported. "He was flying his Beechcraft Bonanza single-engine plane from Houston to his home in Wichita Falls, Texas, this week when his door suddenly opened about three inches mid-flight.

"My 'Wall Street Journal' got sucked out of the plane, and I just kept flying because we were close to home," the 74-year-old businessman told the news source in an interview done over the phone - and using the same iPhone that survived the epic fall.

It was only after he landed that he realized his Apple smartphone was missing. He assumed it was bundled up in the magazine and thus fell with along with it.

"After we got back I looked for it on the floor [of the plane] and in my briefcase but couldn't find it," The Guardian quoted him as saying.

"Wilson and an employee used the Find My iPhone app to narrow the search to near Jacksboro, more than 80km (50 miles) away," the British news source said. "The pair set out to search on Tuesday and ended up in a rural pasture. They found the phone under a mesquite tree."

The businessman thought that the tree probably helped break the handset's fall and lessened the impact.

"I climbed the fence and this donkey trotted up to me and looked me right in the eyes," Wilson recounted the experience to NBC News. "He would not leave our sides. I think he was trying to help us find the phone."

His stepson John Kidwell, who accompanied Wilson for the search, said that they were in a rush to grab the smartphone before the donkey stepped on it.

"Can you imagine if it survived a 9,300-foot drop just to get stepped on by some donkey?" Kidwell said.

Aside from a couple of scratches on the corners, the handset was still "in perfect working order."

"The screen was intact, the phone still made calls and all other features worked as usual. Wilson had encased the iPhone in a protective case with an external battery pack, which was the only piece that snapped off in the fall and couldn't be found," NBC News added.


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