Photos Recovered After Four Years At Sea

After finding a camera on the beach that had been lost at sea for over four years, one man was not only able to recover the photos, but found the owner as well. INSIDE EDITION has the amazing story.

It's like a modern day message in a bottle.

Peter Govaars was walking with his daughter on a beach in Santa Cruz, California, when he spotted the battered remnants of a digital camera which still had its memory card inside. He wondered if he could salvage the precious photos it contained.

"I finally pried it out and looked at it, and it was covered in black scale and muck," Govaars said of his discovery.

Most people would have tossed it away as junk, but this software engineer took the memory card home, cleaned it up, and loaded it onto his computer.

Miraculously, the photos dating back to 2007 were still there.

"That suddenly blew me away. They'd been in the ocean for four years and I was now seeing them. They had survived that whole time," Govaars said.
Immediately, Govaars launched a digital treasure hunt, posting the photos on Flickr searching for the person who took them.

"It went crazy," he said. "There was a core group of maybe ten people who really took interest in the story, looked at the page, and then became their own investigative journalists."

But it was INSIDE EDITION that helped crack the case by matching a photo which contained a license plate with its rightful owner–halfway across the country in Texas!

The 11-year-old girl in the photos turned out to be now 16-year-old Stephanie Sanchez. She accidentally dropped the camera off the pier while on a family trip to Santa Cruz.

INSIDE EDITION was there when she flew in to meet Govaars in person.

"It's really exciting. I feel like I have to go back and relive every moment," Sanchez said.

The two new friends wrapped up the day with a photo to celebrate the memories that survived four years at sea.