Lost in Hawaii, found in Taiwan: Tourist’s camera returned after 5 years in the Pacific

Lost in Hawaii, found in Taiwan: Tourist’s camera returned after 5 years in the Pacific

An epic ocean crossing, masterly detective work and social media combined to reunite one U.S. diver with her long lost holiday photos
China Airlines hopes to fly the owner to Taiwan after her camera traveled across the ocean from Hawaii.

Few tourists are lucky enough to be reunited with lost items, especially if they've been lost while diving.

But U.S. tourist Lindsay Crumbley Scallan recently became an exception to that rule when, five years after losing it, her camera was returned to her.

Even better, the memory card was still functioning and she has been offered a round-trip ticket to Taiwan to retrieve it.

Scallan lost her camera during a night scuba dive in Maui, Hawaii, in August 2007. She returned to the beach the next day to look for it.

Hard to believe this spent the last five years bumping along the floor of the Pacific Ocean. "Of course, we didn't find it, so at that point I just gave up," Scallan told Hawaii News Now.

"I was pretty disappointed because I had all my vacation pictures on there. Plus, the cost of the camera." 

More than five years later and 5,000 miles away, presumably having bumped along the floor of the Pacific Ocean, it washed up on a beach in Taitung, on the east coast of Taiwan, and was picked up by two China Airlines’ staff, Douglas Cheng and Tim Chuang.

More on CNN: 15 bizarre items left behind by travelers

It was covered in barnacles but to their surprise the camera, batteries and memory card were working.

The pair spent several hours studying the photos and traced a name on a catamaran, “Teralani 3,” which, after further research, they discovered was registered in Maui.

Best "lost property" notice ever? The Taiwanese airline then created a Facebook page, “China Airlines is looking for you,” with a few images of Scallan from the memory card. They also reached out to Hawaii News Now to help search for the owner.

The airline found Scallan two days later after a friend identified her.

"I just was floored that it was my camera and it was all my old pictures and it was amazing," said Scallan. "I just couldn't believe it had floated so far, so long ago and the memory card was still intact."

“We have a web conference with Scallan tomorrow,” said a China Airline’s representative. “We would like to invite her to Taiwan to collect the camera but she just started a new job so we’re not sure how we can work out the time yet.”

Thus paving the way for her new supervisor to become the best -- or worst -- boss ever.

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

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