Five years, 9600km later, tourist's underwater camera found

A Taiwanese airline said on Monday it has traced the American owner of a diving camera, which was lost in Hawaii in 2007 and was found last month on a Taiwan beach more than 9600km away.

Flag carrier China Airlines said the owner of the Canon camera, identified as Lindsay Crumbley Scallan from Georgia, would be offered a free round-trip ticket to Taiwan to collect it.

The memory card with photos of Scallan's Hawaii visit remained intact inside the barnacle-encrusted camera.

"Ms Scallan is welcome to visit Taiwan so that she can take home the invaluable memories of her trip to Hawaii," said Lee Wen-yi, an official of the airline.

Scallan lost the waterproof camera in August 2007 during a diving trip in Maui. It was found by Douglas Cheng, a China Airlines manager, while he was strolling along a beach at Taitung on Taiwan's east coast on February 13.

The memory card allowed Cheng to identify where the camera had been lost.

According to the Taipei Times, Cheng found photos on the card of a catamaran called Teralani 3, the second largest in Hawaii, which is registered to a tour operator.

Cheng then contact China Airlines' staff in Honolulu, who launched a search for the owner, attracting media attention.

The airline said a friend of Scallan's in Hawaii informed her on Monday that the camera had been found on the other side of the Pacific.

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