BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, SNOW, LEAVES, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received a call from a young lady named Mandy who was desperate to recover her iPhone 7 from a river in Mays Landing, New Jersey. They found THE RING FINDERS online (an international metal detectorist directory), reached out to a metal detectorist in their area who then referred the couple to another ring finder in my area of Maryland and Virginia. That individual was not able to help out with this search due to the extensive distance involved and that’s when I was contacted.
Mandy and Quinn were kayaking down a couple of miles of water when Mandy’s kayak flipped over. Her iPhone 7 went overboard and so did two years of very special memories that were not saved off of her device (no prior back-up was made). The conditions were tough out there and the couple had no way of seeing the phone resting at the bottom of the water. It was also very dangerous out there with the fast current and high water level. Mandy and Quinn had to continue downstream and were forced to think about trying to recover the phone at some other time in some other way.
Over the course of the next 10 days, the couple made several attempts to recover Mandy’s iPhone. They would take their kayaks back down the river all the way to the spot where the phone went into the water. They even brought a metal detector on one of the trips, but they still could not find Mandy’s precious memory keeper. None of their attempts panned out and they notated that the water was getting colder and colder as the days lingered on.
Even though the couple knew that the phone would no longer work, based on my recommendation, they checked into a few data recovery services that could possibly extract all of the pictures and video from the phone. There were two years worth of the most precious memories one could ever save. This included Mandy and Quinn’s wedding and honeymoon photos, 5 vacations, 3 weddings and a recent family reunion! They were truly desperate to save those unforgettable moments in time.
After the couple had exhausted all of their efforts to get their iPhone back, I told them that I would be extremely excited to be a part of this adventure in trying to recover all of these lost stories that went down to the bottom of the Egg Harbor River.
There were lots of details to iron out in regards to this search and recovery operation. It would be a 3-hour drive to Mays Landing, New Jersey from my residence in Maryland. I would have to set up my NRS 12 foot raft so that we could all take the journey together down the river. We would then need to paddle approximately 2 miles to the search site, conduct the metal detecting operation, and then move down river another half of a mile to the drop off point that was near to the Winding River Campground. Mandy would leave her vehicle there ahead of time so that we could all drive back together to Weymouth Furnace Park where our other cars were left before entering the water. There was definitely a lot involved with this search, but I was determined to do everything I could to help this lovely young couple retrieve their lost phone.
On the day of the river search, I got up extremely early to prepare for the long day’s journey. I packed the car up with everything that I might possibly use for the search. This included: metal detectors, waterproof headphones, wetsuit, dive boots, gloves, detecting harness, video and photo equipment, life jackets, paddles, raft, marine battery to inflate the raft, manual pump, towels, change of clothes and much more.
The drive to New Jersey was smooth and easy. There was such beautiful countryside to view and I had plenty of time appreciating God’s beloved creation. After 3 hours of driving, I arrived at Weymouth Furnace Park and immediately got started unloading my vehicle.
While I waited for the couple to arrive at the park where we would enter the water, I brought all of my equipment down to the riverbank where I assembled my gear and pumped up the raft. Next, I changed into my wetsuit and made sure that I had all the supplies necessary to help bring success to this very unique search and recovery mission.
Mandy and Quinn arrived and we met for the first time near the parking lot where they were getting their own things out of the car to take with them on the trip. Within a short while, Quinn and I were lifting the NRS raft and bringing it into the river so we could get on our way towards our destination. Our river rafting adventure had officially begun!
During our several hour journey down the Egg Harbor River, we encountered several obstacles and mild adversities. Because the width of the water route was very narrow, we were met with down trees, large rocks and other natural resistances. There were a few times when I had to jump out of the raft and guide our vessel around certain “road blocks” that prevented us from having any access down river. There was one instance where the current created a whirlpool effect and I couldn’t get out of the suction in order to guide the raft in a certain direction. The water depth increased in that particular area which prevented me from being able to stand. I admit that it was a bit stressful during that specific encounter with the river’s angry disposition. However, wearing a life jacket at the time proved to be a true lifesaver!
The adventure that Mandy, Quinn and I experienced was all about teamwork. Quinn paddled at the stern of the raft and I commanded the bow with the other paddle. We worked extremely well together as we made our way from one mile marker to the next. At times, we would have to make quick decisions to avoid treacherous tree limbs that we were heading rapidly towards. Other situations had to do with observing the environment in and around the water so that we could stay away from running aground on the rocks or sandy bottom. It really was a very unique experience for me, especially knowing that we were on a mission with a very special purpose in mind – to recover lost stories that fell somewhere below 10 days earlier.
Eventually, the three of us arrived at the search site where Mandy’s kayak flipped over, causing the iPhone to disappear under the water. We pulled the boat up along the sandy river bank and then anchored it to secure its positioning. Mandy showed me a few tree limbs hanging over part of the river which had ultimately distracted Mandy while she wrestled against the fast current. This area would be a prime search location. There was also another section of the river that was perhaps 25 feet from where the kayak capsized which was also a place of interest. Mandy went on to describe how various items could be seen being pushed by the current down towards that other spot. I believe she mentioned that the kayak had once again encountered another vulnerable situation where it began to go into a roll which made it possible for the phone to go overboard at the particular moment.
After accumulating all of the possible scenarios as to what may have actually happened to the device and where it may have ended up, I gathered up my metal detecting gear from the raft and finally began the search. With my sand scoop in one hand and my waterproof detector in the other, I made my way over to the most likely spot in the river where the phone could have gotten lost below. When the kayak flipped over under the tree limbs that Mandy’s head was coming straight towards on that treacherous day almost two weeks earlier, I felt that that was probably the moment when the iPhone 7 went under. Therefore, that was the search location that I wanted to investigate first before I moved over to the alternative area.
Moving my detector back and forth, I scanned the whole section of water under and around the place where the tree limbs hung over me. In the first couple of minutes of the search, there were no target signals that interested my ears or eyes. I couldn’t find any evidence of personal contents made of metal located under the tree. It was at that point that I decided to swing my detector coil slightly to the outer rim of that search vicinity. My hope was that my detector would pick up a promising target on its screen, especially a digital number in the range of the lost phone. As it turned out, something of interest did get picked up on my detector screen, so I immediately checked out the signal and proceeded to identify the target. I placed my scoop down below the water and just as I started bringing it up, hoping that the item was caught inside the metal catchment, I caught sight of a flower-like circular design that was attached to a rectangular device! Immediately I knew that I had found Mandy‘s lost iPhone! I remembered her telling me that she had a PopSocket attached to the back of her phone and Mandy had described the color and floral pattern on her device, as well! This object was a perfect match to the description of the phone that we were after!
I was so overjoyed at the realization that I did indeed discover this so very important item that contained so many memories that were at serious risk of being lost forever! Had it not been for the fact that this couple had entrusted me with this search and that we took the raft and all of my detecting gear down river in order to search that particular area, Mandy and Quinn would have never had the chance to recover such priceless images and video! There was such a feeling of elation as I processed the fact that I had traveled so far for this particular mission in mind and that it all turned out quite successfully! What a great feeling it was!
I couldn’t wait for the next few minutes to come when I would surprise Mandy and Quinn with the results of my search in the Egg Harbor River! They were extremely excited and beyond surprised! The nightmare that they had been going through for the last 10 days was finally over! The rest of the river journey down to the drop off site was a time of celebration and thanksgiving! Just like the prayer that we had lifted up to God earlier on just before entering the water, so too did we thank God above for answering our desperate request for help following my happy smartphone reveal! Truly, our prayers were certainly heard and most definitely answered! I will never forget that very special moment and that wonderful adventurous day that we all experienced together on the Egg Harbor River in Mays Landing, New Jersey!
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