01/23/2013 05:38 pm ET Updated Jan 24, 2013

Algerian Hostages Saved By iPhone Compass App

A harrowing account of one group of Algerian hostages' desperate flight for freedom credited an unusual gadget for helping to save their lives.

Liviu Floria, a Romanian gas worker, fled the scene of the hostage crisis at the Tiguentourine plant last week, following two days of hiding from the terrorists on the plant grounds, The New York Times reports.

Floria said he and seven others climbed a fence and escaped into the desert, navigating for miles across unfamiliar terrain using only a distant light and the compass application on Floria’s smartphone.

From the Times:

Fortunately, the iPhone app worked without a cellular signal. They walked over barren terrain of sand and rocks and small hills, from about 2 a.m. until the late afternoon with only short breaks.

Reuters reported that Floria's journey encompassed nearly 20 miles.

Ultimately, more than 80 people -- hostages and terrorists -- died during the siege of the Saharan natural gas plant, following the bloody attack and takeover by the Islamist Masked Brigade, the Associated Press reports.

There have been several other cases of people crediting iPhone apps -- namely, CPR apps and first aid apps -- with helping to save lives, Wired notes.

In November, Texan Melissa Ketterer said her iTriage app helped diagnose her husband's stroke and gave directions to the closest emergency room.