The old adage “what was once lost is now found” fits perfectly with this movie-like event that played out in Colorado.
Back in 2010, Coral Amayi was tubing on the Animas River with friends shortly after they had all gotten together for her best friend’s wedding. The camera had been used for months of events, and even had pictures from a bachelorette trip Amayi had gone on with the same group.
After being flipped over in her tube, she came out of the water to get settled in again when she noticed her camera was missing. She attempted to locate the device underneath the water, but she knew that her chances to find it were slim considering the deep water of the river.
The fact that she had lost captured pictures from so many meaningful moments on the camera (and had yet to back it up on a computer) was devastating.
An interview that Amayi did with FOX 31 in the Denver Area revealed that she was heartbroken over the situation:
“I remember getting back to my boyfriend’s house and uncontrollably crying and upset.”
As years went by, the loss of the camera slowly slipped away from Amayi’s memory and she had accepted those photos were gone.
That is until the keen eye of a fisherman spotted something sticking out of the rocks and sand in a shallow area of water in the river.
The hawk-eyed angler, Spencer Greiner, told FOX 31 how he came to pull the portable camera out of the water:
“I was walking along and saw it sticking out of the sand. 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.”
Once Griener returned home with the “catch of the day,” he attempted to pry open the portion of the camera housing the SD card. He eventually got it open, but water poured out of the area, so his faith that anything could be salvaged had dissipated:
“I was like ‘yeah, this is probably not going to work at all. 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.’”
Griener was then able to gather enough information from the photos to put together a post online, hoping that someone that had either been in the pictures or knew individuals from the photos would respond. He posted on a Facebook group the following message:
“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.”
The ugly brown stretch station wagon “caught a stray” in the post, but social media did its thing, and Coral Amayi was eventually tracked down and given the good news. Griener guessed that the camera had traveled downstream almost a mile from where the device had been lost.
Amayi was overjoyed when heard the news that the long-lost camera had been found:
“I was just totally dumbfounded. 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.’”
The story is chalk-full of miracles. It was was miracle the camera was found and Griener had enough curiosity to see if it still worked. It was a miracle the SD card worked after being submerged in water for 13 years. It was a miracle (minor compared to the other two) that social media was able to track down the rightful owner of the camera.
Griener’s fishing trip might not have garnered many fish, but he did manage to reel in all of social media with this feel good story.