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Extreme effort to retrieve dropped smartphone leads to suspension

If you happen to accidentally drop your phone in water, hopefully it’ll be a puddle rather than a reservoir.

A government official in India recently experienced the latter, dropping his Samsung handset in the Kherkatta Dam in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh while he was trying to take a selfie at a scenic spot, the BBC reported.

Upset to see his phone disappear from view, Rajesh Vishwas called in local divers to look for it, but they were unable to locate it in the reservoir’s murky depths.

Refusing to give up on his quest to be reunited with his beloved Samsung device — while also claiming that the phone contained sensitive government data — Vishwas took just about the most drastic action you can imagine and ordered the reservoir to be drained.

Three days later, after nearly half a million gallons (around 2 million liters) of water had been pumped from the reservoir, Vishwas, a local food inspector, was able to locate his phone. But it no longer worked.

And his problems didn’t end there. When Vishwas’s superiors got wind of his action, they suspended him for wasting water.

According to local media reports, Vishwas pleaded innocence, saying he’d been given verbal permission from a senior to partially drain the reservoir into a nearby canal. But district officials rejected his claim.

Priyanka Shukla, a Kanker district official, said Vishwas will take time off work ahead of an inquiry into the bizarre incident, commenting: “Water is an essential resource and it cannot be wasted like this.”

Shukla’s comments came soon after India experienced its hottest March since records began 122 years ago, putting water supplies under strain, among other damaging consequences.

The unusual case brings to mind another water-based incident a couple of years ago when a man jumped into icy water in Victoria, Canada, to rescue his iPhone, which he’d dropped in the harbor a few hours earlier. In that case, however, the phone still worked.

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Trevor Mogg
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