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Lost Camera Survives Two Years Submerged In Wyoming's Salt River

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now a story of lost and found. It was 2012. A man from Idaho went fishing on Wyoming's Salt River with his father.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

John Cassinelli says he and his dad were having a nice time.

JOHN CASSINELLI: Had a pretty good day of fishing, and, of course, I had my camera with to take pictures and - of all the fish we caught.

GONYEA: The elder Cassinelli put the digital camera back in its case. His son wanted to look at the photos when they got back to Idaho, but they couldn't find it.

CASSINELLI: We must've knocked the camera off the side of the boat and it fallen in the river.

BLOCK: Once they realized what happened, there wasn't much to do.

CASSINELLI: We wrote it off. It was gone forever, and we would probably never see it again.

BLOCK: Two freezing Wyoming winters went by. Then last fall, some angels arrived.

GONYEA: That would be Cindy Fay Angell and Blake Angell - real angels. And they went fishing on the Salt River and saw something fishy in the water.

BLOCK: OK, there it was - the camera.

CASSINELLI: They took it home and pulled the batteries out of it and stuck it in a bowl of rice to dry it out then threw some batteries back in it, and lo and behold, it fired right back up and turned on.

BLOCK: The Sony Cybershot is not advertised as waterproof, but it survived two years submerged.

GONYEA: The Angells intended to find the owner, but it wasn't until just a few weeks ago that they posted some of the camera's pictures on Facebook.

CASSINELLI: And they just sort of randomly picked five photos to make a collage and say does anybody know these people? We found their camera.

BLOCK: And last week, John Cassinelli was at work at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game...

CASSINELLI: And one of my co-workers came in with her smartphone and asked me did you lose a camera?

BLOCK: He didn't even think about that old Sony camera in the Salt River.

CASSINELLI: It all came kind of rushing back to me all at once that I'd actually lost a camera there.

GONYEA: You never know when a Facebook-using angel may appear.

CASSINELLI: And I guess the moral of the story is number one, social media is a very powerful tool, and I guess the second moral would be you think something's gone forever, there's always a chance it can make it back to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOST ON THE RIVER")

RHIANNON GIDDENS: (Singing) I got lost on the river, but I got found. I got lost on the river, but I didn't drown. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.