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Lost camera reunited with owner after six years drifting in the ocean

By dpreview staff on Mar 26, 2013 at 21:36 GMT

A photographer has been reunited with her Canon PowerShot camera, six years after losing it in the ocean off Hawaii. The camera, which was in a waterproof housing, drifted for thousands of miles to the coast of Taiwan, where it was picked up by an employee of China Airlines. The airline identified its owner, Lindsay Scallion of Georgia, USA from photos on the memory card.

This is what a consumer-grade waterproof housing looks like after six years at sea. Lindsay Scallan's Canon PowerShot camera drifted thousands of miles from Hawaii to Taiwan.  Despite picking up some scuffs and stains on its voyage, the case apparently remained afloat, and the memory card was still readable when the camera was found last month. 

According to Hawaii News Now, when Scallan lost the camera, back in 2007, it was on a night scuba dive in Kaanpali - 'the seas were really rough. There was a lot of sand stirred up. It was hard to see'. Although she returned to the beach in the morning to see whether the camera had washed up, she went home empty-handed, assuming it had been lost forever.

Lindsay Scallan, pictured during a trip to Hawaii in 2007, during which she lost her Canon PowerShot camera.

Although she thought it was gone forever, the camera floated in its waterproof housing for six years, and several thousand miles, to the coast of Taiwan. This picture was recovered from its still-intact memory card. 

After getting Scallan's photographs from the still-intact memory card, representatives of Taiwan airlines tracked her down after searching through the records of a boat operator on the islands, and enlisting the help of Hawaii's tourism bureau. A representative of the airline called her and offered to fly her out to Taiwan to be reunited with the camera in person, but apparently work commitments mean that Scallan won't be able to make the trip.

Nevertheless, the phonecall from Taiwan took Scallan by surprise, and 'brought back some good memories, and some pictures I'd forgotten I'd taken. It was great'. Unsurprisingly, Scallan says, 'I'm curious to see what else was on there'. 

From Hawaii News Now (via Petapixel)

Comments

Total comments: 87
N13L5
By N13L5 (Apr 4, 2013)

Message in a bottle..

1 upvote
plasnu
By plasnu (Apr 2, 2013)

Now we all know the best way to dump those old digital cameras in our closet.

0 upvotes
ZeldaZonk
By ZeldaZonk (Apr 1, 2013)

From the thumbnail image, i thought this was the Hasselblad Lunar prototype.

4 upvotes
Borisgallery
By Borisgallery (Mar 31, 2013)

Hi .... I lost wallet that found after 2 months on the fifth Freeway, now what? Will advertise invisible wallets?

0 upvotes
Simon Zeev
By Simon Zeev (Mar 29, 2013)

A long time ago I dive with my Canon S300 and the housing and at 10m deep I saw that I didn't close well the housing and is full with sea water. I come out, rinse the camera with regular water and rinse the CF card. the camera is RIP but the Lexar 256 MB is working today.

1 upvote
Peanut88
By Peanut88 (Mar 28, 2013)

Why wait and waste money in airfare ?
Just send the camera back to her via parcel air freight.
I guess they and Canon want to meet her and make use of her as a publicity tourism and Canon's pride by taking pictures of her.

0 upvotes
Lenscraft
By Lenscraft (Mar 31, 2013)

So? Win-win.

1 upvote
Judy Stone
By Judy Stone (Mar 28, 2013)

What about the camera? I wish they posted pictures of the Powershot to see how the housing performed after such a long time.

4 upvotes
kgreggain
By kgreggain (Mar 28, 2013)

It would be hilarious if when looking at the images, there were a bunch of self portraits from various tropical fish and sharks. :)

16 upvotes
BlackZero
By BlackZero (Mar 29, 2013)

rofl....

0 upvotes
rexjak
By rexjak (Mar 30, 2013)

That's exactly what happens in the book "Flotsam":
http://www.hmhbooks.com/wiesner/flotsam.html

0 upvotes
tar4heel2
By tar4heel2 (Mar 27, 2013)

what was the brand name of that memory card???

7 upvotes
d10694
By d10694 (Mar 27, 2013)

My wife uses Canon POS at her playgroup (an assortment of the cheapest ones). They have all been used for many years, day after day, and between all 5 they have done well over 90k photographs.

And at playgroup, they suffer indescribable horrors every day. Surorisingly, nothing has broken off, the lenses move out, and the blinds still move out of the way when the lens comes out. Best of all they use rechargeable AA batteries, cheap to run & Sandisk cards.

I'm not normally a Canon fan, but the POS do seem to stand the test of time.

Playgroup - Gold - Reccomended.

2 upvotes
speculatrix
By speculatrix (Apr 1, 2013)

My wife had two canon Ixus (Elph) cameras, the first was a 700, I dropped it 5 inches onto a wooden table and the lens jammed and camera locked up with the dreaded E 18 error. I replaced it with an Ixus 750 and two years later wife dropped it and same problem.
In both cases I was quoted more than the cameras were worth to repair, it was cheaper to buy replacements from Canon Outlet.

Whilst the cameras are great it seems the lenses are prone to jamming if knocked in the wrong way. Just Google for "canon e18 lens"

0 upvotes
sonnief
By sonnief (Mar 27, 2013)

I lost my A70 in Bali, 2003, wish I can get the CF memory back :(

0 upvotes
Essai
By Essai (Mar 27, 2013)

I still have my Canon A70 and it still works like a new one even after 40 000 pictures.

2 upvotes
W Sanders
By W Sanders (Mar 27, 2013)

Perfect use for my POS A510 - throw it in the ocean and see where it ends up.

2 upvotes
Teddy
By Teddy (Mar 27, 2013)

If I'm the marketing head of the waterproof housing, I'll jump all over this.
This is a great opportunity for some press visibility.

I wonder if it's been swallowed by a whale, and went out undigested.

5 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 27, 2013)

A night SCUBA dive. Everything inky black, save a small swath illuminated by strobe. No way to guess what lurks in the dark, or what could suddenly lunge into view. Scarey. Who wouldn't take fright and lose grip on the camera? But what good would the camera be at all?

0 upvotes
clear glass
By clear glass (Mar 27, 2013)

Does the O ring have to be changed now? (just bought first underwater housing.)

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Mar 27, 2013)

The downside of I.D. on your memory card, "Please, steal my identity."

0 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (Mar 27, 2013)

Mine says "If found, please call Mike, 123-XXX-XXXX." I'm comfortable with that much risk.

3 upvotes
straylightrun
By straylightrun (Mar 27, 2013)

Paranoid much?

3 upvotes
DanCee
By DanCee (Mar 28, 2013)

I just put my e-mail in my cameras, I think it's safe enough

0 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (Mar 27, 2013)

The first and permanent image on any memory card should be a photograph of your name and contact information on a piece of paper, locked against erasure. No need for a boat operator and a tourism bureau.

5 upvotes
ARB1
By ARB1 (Mar 27, 2013)

Wonder what would have happened if it was a Delta employee?

1 upvote
jttravis
By jttravis (Mar 27, 2013)

I'm sure there would have been a $50 fee...

4 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 27, 2013)

In USA years ago you used to lose a wallet and somebody will return it with the cash intact. I think those days are gone unless the people who picked up the wallet are senior citizens.

6 upvotes
Erick L
By Erick L (Mar 27, 2013)

5 years ago, I lost my wallet during a bicycle tour. Found in my mailbox months later, cash still in it. But that was in Canada. ;-)

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
15 upvotes
maxola67
By maxola67 (Mar 27, 2013)

The same thing happened to me 15 years ago in Moscow.
Some people don't want to spoil their karma.

6 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Mar 27, 2013)

Canadians!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 upvotes
ptodd
By ptodd (Mar 27, 2013)

A friend from Bangladesh visiting the UK for the first time a few years ago managed to accidentally leave a large amount of cash (~£2000?) in a bag in a graveyard in Winchester. Fortunately someone handed it in.

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (Mar 27, 2013)

Hey ! I lost my wallet 3 years ago in France. I never got it back since then.

xD

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Mar 27, 2013)

I lost or forgot wallet or camera several times in Thailand, including downtown Bangkok. I got everything back always.

0 upvotes
fivetonsflax
By fivetonsflax (Mar 27, 2013)

Those days are not gone. I have personally returned a found wallet with its cash. (Actually, I replaced the cash with a check to make sure it didn't disappear in transit.) I am some decades away from calling myself a senior citizen.

0 upvotes
AndraM
By AndraM (Mar 27, 2013)

I lost my credit card in a parking lot a few months ago. Less than an hour later a guy called our home to let me know he found it (he was no senior citizen, either). There are still many honest, honorable people out there -- even in the USA.

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Mar 28, 2013)

I lost a wallet with $2000 in Miami in 2003 and got it back with every cent still in it.. ;-)

0 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 27, 2013)

It's not really a publicity stunt. 6 months ago I lost a backpack checked in on Taiwan's China Airlines. I thought somebody stole it at the airport and was depressed. But they told me it will most likely arrive on the next flight. I had just been ripped many times in the US so I had little faith in the system(big business). I went to different cities and my phone number was not active. A month later the airline called me and told me they have been calling me numerous times and they were going to deliver that back pack to me in another city, which they did. It contained a ton of old photographs I picked up from storage.

4 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 27, 2013)

I forgot to add they sent a courier specifically to deliver it (by train to my doorstep) to make sure it was not lost.

5 upvotes
fotolopithecus
By fotolopithecus (Mar 27, 2013)

If Canons smart they'll buy this camera and use it in a humorous ad.

4 upvotes
Photog74
By Photog74 (Mar 27, 2013)

PhotographyBLOG reckons it must have been "either a Canon PowerShot A510 or A520 encased in a Canon WP-DC60 all-weather housing."

http://www.photographyblog.com/news/camera_traced_back_to_owner_after_drifting_6200_miles_through_pacific/

1 upvote
MirosIav
By MirosIav (Mar 27, 2013)

Moral of the story: throw as much cameras as you can into a nearby see/lake/river and if they find yours you can win a trip to the other side of the planet :D.

Kudos to Taiwan airlines for their service and to Canon for the durability of their underwater housing!.

3 upvotes
alpha90290
By alpha90290 (Mar 27, 2013)

Don't expect others to be as honest as the Taiwanese. Most likely the camera will end up in e-bay. I still haven't recover the camera I lost 3 years ago.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Hank Booyah
By Hank Booyah (Mar 27, 2013)

It took her 6 years to recover her camera. You have another 3 years to go, don't lose hope just yet! =)

10 upvotes
SS_dSLR
By SS_dSLR (Mar 27, 2013)

Would also be nice to know.. what brand of memory card was that?

0 upvotes
chris1444
By chris1444 (Mar 27, 2013)

WOW that's customer service. They tried to identify her, they found her, they even OFFERED her a trip to Taiwan. All this despite the fact that she probably never had flown with China Airlines.

I wish my airline would be that kind when I actually travel with them.

I guess they wanted to do some PR on the story, and funding the ticket to Taiwan would have been a cheap PR cost.

Still impressive. I am not seeing Ryanair doing this any time soon.

12 upvotes
Alan Brown
By Alan Brown (Mar 27, 2013)

Ryanair would do it for £5. You just have to pay air taxes/luggage premium if travelling with more than 100grams, credit card surcharge, booking in at the airport fee, oh you are not wearing a 'grey suit' surcharge, want anything to eat on the 10 hr stint, or want silly things like...oxygen. Cheap really!

5 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Mar 27, 2013)

@Alan Brown,

My sentiments exactly. I NEVER have and hope I NEVER WILL travel with that airline and I simply refuse to go anywhere that is serviced only by that airline.

0 upvotes
AlDCu
By AlDCu (Mar 27, 2013)

I've flown with Ryanair and would fly 1000x times more... I don't really know what are you guys complaining for.

They have very strict rules, and yes, you have to follow them (how would have know) but what else would you want from an airline that is cheaper than taking a bus or train. I flew Italy to Belgium for 13 euros ... (round trip!!) by far the cheapest ticket I've ever bought anywhere. I used them to other places for less than 25 euros and never had to pay a cent more. And yes I always used the airport restroom just in case they started charging for using the bathroom while o the air ;)

I wish there was something similar in the states since we don't even have a decent rail system to start with. Ohh and I rather fly Ryanair than Spirit ...

1 upvote
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Mar 27, 2013)

Nice to see the reaction from Taiwan. If the reds were to find it they would make it into a provocation.

5 upvotes
dosdan
By dosdan (Mar 27, 2013)

A similar tale. Not a "floater", but a "bottom of the lake" story:

A Pentax Optio W90 P&S, lost under water & mud for 2 months – lake drained – metal detector finds it – battery half drained, but the camera still worked!

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/dailyfeatures/article_b9b9293c-d7a8-11e1-9145-0019bb2963f4.html

Followup: "The W90 is now at the Pentax R&D Dept to help newer models have even less leakage. The owner of the original camera has a new WG-2 in it's place at no charge."

Here's two posts by the guy, William Kumpe, who found it:
http://www.pentax forums.com/forums/general-photography-industry/193898-pentax-offers-replace-camera-found-lake.html#post2248274

http://www.pentax forums.com/forums/welcomes-introductions/197514-hello-wyoming.html#post2080274

Dan.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JustDavid
By JustDavid (Mar 27, 2013)

I don't suppose DPR could give this a mention in their little article? It would make sense :)

Or dare I say publish a separate article? It was the Pentax case that happened first, after all:)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Mar 27, 2013)

Now make large prints of photographs and put them in the Hermitage Museum, and so spontaneously born a new artist with a compelling story and sponsored by Canon.
The camera is also exposed to contemplation of visitors :)

4 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (Mar 27, 2013)

Where is DxO sensor sharpness test chart for this camera ? Couldn't find it and it's all what matters.

10 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Mar 27, 2013)

Simon's review concluded the following:
"
Conclusion - Pros

* Good resolution
* Bright, vivid - though natural - color
* Good edge-to-edge sharpness
* Useful new 35-140mm equiv. 4x zoom lens
* Reliable focus and exposure
* Lots of manual controls
* Excellent build quality for a budget camera
* Very little purple fringing
* Excellent flash exposures and color
* Good screen
* Excellent battery life from 2x NiMH batteries
* Zoom-linked flash
* Usable manual focus
* Playback histogram
* Excellent value for money

Conclusion - Cons

* High noise at ISO 400
* Focus can be slow - especially at the long end of the zoom
* Flash recycle way too slow
* Minimum two-second shot-to-shot time
* Slow start-up

Recommended
"

4 upvotes
David Hart
By David Hart (Mar 28, 2013)

The review forgot to add this to Pros:

*Survival in Ocean with Underwater case: 5 Years

1 upvote
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Mar 27, 2013)

No one knows WHICH Powershot it is? I'm curious about that!

0 upvotes
Scottie Wang
By Scottie Wang (Mar 27, 2013)

It's a powershot A520 reported by Taiwan newspaper.

3 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Mar 27, 2013)

Scottie Wang beat me to it!
http://www.appledaily.com.tw/animation/weekly/index/20130325/34909648/week
(Next Media animation and report)

From the golden age of Dpreview...
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona520

I first scoured all of the old powershot A series models here just now to see which one it was, and narrowed it down to the A510 or A520, as they have the same body basically. Then I saw the video and said 'ah.' :P

1 upvote
boogschd
By boogschd (Mar 27, 2013)

edit:

nvm

edit2: WP-DC60 camera housing if anybody is interested
http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/underwater_photo

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
cplunk
By cplunk (Mar 27, 2013)

more importantly, was it a canon waterproof case?

Cause I'm thinking that's the piece that proved itself here. (does the camera still work?).

1 upvote
Timothy Hood
By Timothy Hood (Mar 31, 2013)

It is a Canon case. I had a nearly identical Canon waterproof case for my A640. Excellent cases. The camera didn't survive my kids' abuse (outside the case), and I couldn't find a newer model camera to fit that case, so I sold it. But I would wholeheartedly recommend Canon waterproof cases. Access to all of the camera's buttons an features. Good to 100 meters and you can weight balance them for neutral buoyancy (though I always preferred positive buoyancy so they would float to the surface in case I lost hold of it).

0 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Mar 26, 2013)

work commitments or maybe she doesn't want the attention, anyway surely they can send her the memory card. Great service from Taiwan airlines.

1 upvote
Mike921
By Mike921 (Mar 27, 2013)

CA has planted more than their share of aircraft - the lady made a smart move.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Mar 26, 2013)

Great!

There's a chance The Palantír of Orthanc can still be found!

.

5 upvotes
Tassadar
By Tassadar (Mar 27, 2013)

Is it in a consumer-grade waterproof housing? :))

0 upvotes
ivan1973
By ivan1973 (Mar 26, 2013)

Why not just send her the files. Save all the unnecessary resources.

0 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (Mar 26, 2013)

I would definitely want the camera just to see it.

Going along your thinking, why not just toss the camera in the trash, why waste the time and resources on an old piece of junk.

5 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (Mar 27, 2013)

Maybe they (airlines) wanted the publicity.

3 upvotes
DerbyBill
By DerbyBill (Mar 27, 2013)

Canon themselves will probably try to get a hold of her to trade her a new camera and case for the old one so they can use it for publicity too.

2 upvotes
Andrewteee
By Andrewteee (Mar 26, 2013)

There is a book called Flotsam by David Wiesner that tells of such an amazing journey.

2 upvotes
montygm
By montygm (Mar 26, 2013)

Amazing story! Canon should get in contact with her and pay her for advertising rights on the durability of their underwater housings. Great airline company to go out of their way to get in contact with her. Well done to them.

7 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 26, 2013)

I knew Canon had to do something after the Nikon lens recovery that was reported here at DPR two weeks ago (http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/03/18/Seawater-damaged-Nikon-lens-fixed-by-boiling-at-Taiwan-service-center).
The Canon-Nikon war is relentless!

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Mar 27, 2013)

I don't see how boiling of the rusted parts from a lens got anything to deal with it.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 27, 2013)

Plastek, congratulations. Your comment is now on top of DCOTY (Dumbest Comment Of The Year) Award ranking.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Mar 26, 2013)

Incredible that she did not take up the trip to Taiwan. Come on!! Make some time, if not now in the future.

7 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (Mar 27, 2013)

Well, in the news segment, it explains why she decided to, possibly, not make the trip.

1 upvote
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Mar 26, 2013)

This looks like the case :
http://www.amazon.com/Canon-WP-DC60-Waterproof-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0007MGFGO

1 upvote
fairfaxian
By fairfaxian (Mar 26, 2013)

I found a Seneca View Camera (completely intact) on a US warship that sank in 1918. Alas, no photos will ever be recovered from this item. It was called "the doughboy camera" as they were so popular with armed forces of the day. I would do anything to be able to see what images that camera captured.

3 upvotes
DFPanno
By DFPanno (Mar 26, 2013)

I hope the housing manufacturer gets some mileage out of this event.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 26, 2013)

It's a Canon case, I'd be almost certain. Canon did (and still does) make dedicated waterproof cases for several PowerShot models.

4 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Mar 26, 2013)

Amazing customer service for a non-customer!

10 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 26, 2013)

It is absolutely amazing that an airline would do this kind of detective work to find her. And then offer her a flight too. It would be a really funny story if she flew out there and her luggage got lost.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
24 upvotes
Kuppenbender
By Kuppenbender (Mar 27, 2013)

Loosing your luggage is the least of your problems. It's keeping the planes in the air where China Airlines have the real problems (China Airlines #60 JACDEC Safety Ranking, 2012).
http://www.jacdec.de/jacdec_safety_ranking_2012.htm

3 upvotes
guinness2
By guinness2 (Mar 27, 2013)

Sad numbers, more planes lost only by American Airlines, Aeroflot and US Airways (and Korean Air, if we count the shoot down too)
Eva Air is clean, until now.

1 upvote
requa
By requa (Mar 27, 2013)

There used to be a site at IFoundYourCamera.net where people would post photos from found cameras trying to reunite them with the owners. It now appears that this site no longer exists, and the closest thing may be a similarly named FB page. I avoid FB on principal, but it may be worth remembering if you ever lose your gear.

0 upvotes
Timothy Hood
By Timothy Hood (Mar 31, 2013)

Fly JetBlue. They've never had a crash.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 87