After spending a year on the bottom of a lake, a rescued iPhone still works

After spending a year on the bottom of a lake, a rescued iPhone still works
There is a club in Wisconsin called The Four Lakes Scuba Club and every year they do approximately four cleanup dives which it considers a public service. That's because, during these dives, club members remove items found in certain lakes. As club president Ellen Evans says, "We target things that are bad for the environment. That's things like plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic bottles, electronics. I just try to imagine, 'What were people doing that this ended up in the water.' Usually I can't come up with a good explanation on how it got here."

Among the items they find are lost phones. As Evans explains, "We find phones, we always try to charge them up. A lot of times they aren't functional, but occasionally they are." Last Sunday, while doing their civic duty and cleaning up Lake Mendota, the club's divers discovered an Apple iPhone that was still working. The phone was turned over to the UW-Madison Police Department and a department detective was able to get inside the device to find out the name of the owner.

The iPhone that was recovered from Davy Jones' locker belonged to one Ellie Eisenberg (it would be odd if it belonged to two people named Ellie Eisenberg, right?). Eisenberg, who graduated from UW-Madison, had lost her iPhone in the summer of 2022 while she and some pals were out on a boat. At the time, Ellie did what any of us would have done if our phone had plunged into the murky waters. "I got a new phone because I thought, 'Who would even find it? Who would you call for that?'" she said.

That means that Ellie's iPhone (model undisclosed) was able to still turn on despite spending a year in Lake Mendota. And no, there's no truth to the rumor that the body of water will be renamed Lake Mendata.

After her iPhone was returned to her, Eisenberg mused about what other items might still be salvageable. "Now I'm like, 'What's below me? I have no idea,'" Eisenberg said. "Maybe I should go out there looking and get myself a little scuba set and join the club out there.

Items that scuba club president Evans said her club has found underwater include:

  • Green card
  • Gun
  • Empty cash register drawer
  • Bowling balls
  • Golf balls
  • Footballs
  • Dice
  • Toilet Tank
  • Stove
  • Laundry carts
  • Trays
  • Street signs
  • Bikes
  • Anchors
We've previously passed along stories of other iPhone units that were long given up for dead and managed to resurface in device owners' lives. Perhaps the most extreme example was an iPhone lost on Halloween night back in 2012 when the missing phone, an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s, was discovered 10 years later deep inside the pipes connected to a toilet inside a house. Unlike the unit found in the lake, this iPhone was not turning back on.

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