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Camera lost at sea for two years reunited with its owner after Facebook post

The barnacle-covered camera case. Park Lee

University student Serina Tsubakihara liked to scuba dive with her Canon PowerShot G12 camera, taking it deep under the surface of the ocean to capture sea life around her native Japan.

But two years ago, when she was diving off the coast of Ishigaki in Okinawa, the camera slipped out of her hands and disappeared from sight. Disappointed, she assumed it was lost forever and did her best to put the unfortunate incident behind her.

So imagine Serina’s surprise when a friend contacted her earlier this month to say that some of her photos from that very dive had shown up on Facebook.

She soon learned that her camera, which had been sealed safely inside a waterproof case, had drifted all the way to Taiwan, some 150 miles from where she dropped it, the BBC reported.

Just recently, a group of Taiwanese schoolchildren on a day out to clean a beach came across what at first sight appeared to be a small rock covered in barnacles. Upon further inspection, they realized it was a case with a camera inside, so they opened it up to take a closer look.

The camera looked to be in perfect shape and, after some deliberation, the class decided to inspect the photos on the memory card in the hope of finding some clues as to the identity of the owner.

They worked out that some of the photos had been taken in Japan, so they posted a few of them on Facebook together with messages in both Japanese and Chinese.

In the space of just 24 hours, the post received more than 10,000 shares, with a friend of Serina being one of those who happened to see the images in her feed. She contacted Serina, who confirmed they were her photos.

The delighted university student will head to Taiwan in the coming months to thank the class for their efforts and to collect the Canon camera that she was certain she’d never see again.

“I’m so lucky and happy to have this miracle opportunity to feel kindness of people in my life,” Serina told the BBC.

The remarkable story is the latest of many such tales where people have been reunited with their long-lost cameras. Earlier this year we heard about how a young British lad received an action camera that he’d lost in the sea several months earlier, while in Canada another guy got his Lumix camera back after the device had spent two years under water. The device was a total wreck because it hadn’t been inside a case, but incredibly the memory card still worked, giving the diver that found it a chance to trace its owner.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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