DENVER (KDVR) — A digital camera thought lost forever has resurfaced after 13 years in a Colorado river.
Coral Amayi lost the camera while tubing on the Animas River in 2010, shortly after her best friend’s wedding.
“I had gotten tossed from my tube at Smelter Rapid,” she said. “And I came back up, got my tube, and my camera was missing.”
Amayi was heartbroken, knowing many of the photos on the camera hadn’t been uploaded to her computer.
“I remember getting back to my boyfriend’s house and uncontrollably crying and upset,” she said.
The deep water and fast current quickly left her accepting defeat, knowing she’d never see the camera again.
That is, until this week, when an angler stumbled upon something strange sticking out of the ground in shallow water.
“I was walking along and saw it sticking out of the sand,” Spencer Greiner said. “It was in rough shape, so I really didn’t have any hopes of getting anything off of it, I was just planning to throw it away, and then curiosity got the best of me, and I had to see what was on it.”
Greiner used a screwdriver to pry open the door to the memory card, where water rushed out.
“I was like ‘yeah, this is probably not going to work at all,'” Greiner said. “But I plugged it into the computer, and it read immediately and I was like ‘oh cool, let’s see what sort of treasures we’re going to find on this memory card.'”
Greiner quickly found photos of a tubing trip, bachelorette party and wedding, and knew he had to find the owner.
So he turned to a Durango Facebook group, posting some of the photos, asking: “Did you get married on June 12th 2010 in the Durango area? Did you have an ugly brown stretch station wagon at your bachelorette party? Do you recognize any of these people? If so please contact me.“
Greiner said within an hour, people started recognizing themselves in the photos.
“It was less than an hour after I made the post and the groom from the wedding was like ‘that’s me and my wife!’” Greiner said. “So I was shocked that it happened so quickly.”
The couple quickly tracked down Amayi, who was at a work conference, to tell her the good news.
“I was just totally dumbfounded,” Amayi said. “And I got up and was like dancing in the bathroom, and I was like ‘who am I going to tell?! I need to tell this to somebody like right now.’”
Greiner is planning to send Amayi all of the photos this week.
He believes the camera traveled 1.2 miles from where it was lost to where he found it downstream.
“For it to have been in the river for 13 years, I thought that was just astounding, really,” he said.
“It just blows my mind that an SD card still worked after all that time,” Amayi said.