Camera Returned After Year on Ocean Floor

Here’s a story that’s sure to drop your jaws: A Spanish trawlerman named Benito Estevez was recently fishing off the west coast of Europe when his net brought up a digital camera from the Atlantic seabed.

Five photographs were recovered from the camera’s memory card, and included shots of a man and woman posing on the deck of a ship (seen to the left).

In one of the photographs (bottom), a woman is seen on the deck of the QM2 cruise liner, with the QE2 in the background. BBC News reported the story on television last night, and published it online early this morning. This afternoon, they reported that the owners had been found. A friend of the owners, living in England, noticed their photographs last night just as she was about to switch off her television.

Turns out the owners, Barbara and Dennis Gregory of South Africa, were traveling from New York to Southampton in 2008 when the camera fell overboard into the Atlantic. Mrs. Gregory says,

Somebody spotted dolphins in the water and the two of us jumped up and that was it. It literally bounced off his lap, across the deck and into the water with hardly a splash and it was gone. […] There’s no way we could ever have imagined that this thing would ever turn up again. It sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. […] You daydream that it might happen that these pictures are going to pop up somewhere, but you don’t think it’s ever going to happen.

It’s absolutely mindboggling.

We agree.

(via Digital Photography Review)

  • Mark Van J

    I wonder how many cameras are lying at the bottom of the Hudson that fall off all the ferries…

  • dpckeys

    Wow that is mind blowing! I love amazing stories like this that seem so impossible.

  • Dave K

    I had a roll of film returned that I'd lost in a forest while photographing a forest fire. Someone found it while walking their dog the next spring and developed it, they recognized a friend of my cousin who was earlier on the roll, she gave it to her and the friend gave it to my cousin who recognized the event and passed it back to me. Too bad none of the forest fire pics on that roll were any good.

  • julieprichard

    What kind of camera was it?? A year underwater is something I'd be interested in as far as performance.

  • Michael Zhang

    This BBC article seems to have a photograph of Estevez and the camera:

    Kudos to anyone who can identify it.

  • Laura Millar

    What a weird story, it's very odd for something like this to happen. The chances of ever getting your camera back that's been dropped overboard is very slim. You have a better chance of winning the lottery!

    Graphic Designer Scotland
    Chauffeur London

  • Aaron Bendele

    Whoever manufactured the memory card should make ads about this.

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  • Alan

    The camera is probably shot—saltwater is incredibly corrosive; it's probably the memory card which survived. Pretty fantastic.

  • commatose

    Love this. What a strange thing to happen.

  • Jim

    Very cool story, the memory card lasting is impressive. The stars have to align just right for stuff like this to happen.

  • Bergur

    I know I shouldn't…but I have to ask:

    How many of you are annoyed by the horizon in the pictures?

  • Martinlbb

    Camera is a Nikon Coolpix P80.

    I found this on Exif info, based on pictures published by fisherman Benito Estevez. Here is gallery URL:

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  • John Branch

    I'd be annoyed if they were my pictures, and I'd rotate the image to fix it. But these are other people's snapshots. Never any telling how other people will shoot their pictures.

  • Bergur

    That's why I wrote: “I know I shouldn't”.

    This is a photography site, so I am assuming most people are familiar with the fact, that the horizon mostly looks the best when it's horizontal. I'm not telling the one who shot these pictures how to shoot them. I'm merely pointing out a fun fact.

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  • Berkshire Wedding Photographer

    What an amazing story I didn’t think digital cameras would be so resilient, especially allowing pictures to be published after being submerged in water.