Paddleboarder who lost phone at sea finds it 500 days later

Martin Lewis advises on how to sell your old mobile phone

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A paddle boarder who lost her phone at sea found the device nearly a year-and-a-half after it vanished – and in working condition. Clare Atfield’s Apple iPhone 8+ slipped out of her lanyard when she fell from her board off the coast of Havant, Hampshire, in 2021. Nearly 500 days after she assumed the phone had found a new home on the seafloor, it made a surprise return.

Ms Atfield had secured her phone in a plastic lanyard around her neck while out at sea but didn’t notice when it slipped from its waterproof accommodation on April 4.

The device case held her bank cards, her medical information and her mother’s phone number.

The 39-year-old ultimately decided to buy a new phone, believing it lost to the English coastline.

But the device and documents staged a shocking return 460 days later in the hands of a local dog walker.

A resident of nearby Eastney beach – less than an hour’s journey south of Havant – found Ms Atfield earlier this month and offered her the phone back.

They tracked her down using the personal documents still stored in the phone’s case and returned it on November 7.

To her surprise, the forgotten phone was still wholly functional.

She told the SWNS news agency how “crazy” it was that the device still “works perfectly” despite having travelled several miles in the watery depths.

She said that, in the end, the phone had “not actually even travelled that far that far strangely”.

Ms Atfield said: “It was quite far out to sea, but it was inside one of those phone protection cases which came with my paddleboard, so it must have sank and just stayed there.”

The phone didn’t escape unscathed as the rough seas battered its casing.

Ms Atfield explained the back had shattered on its journey to Eastney beach.

She was shocked the broken surface hadn’t allowed water to infiltrate the device.

She said: “I’m stunned more damage wasn’t caused to it, especially how rough the sea can get down there, it’s mad.

“I never thought I would have seen it again, or for it to be working.”

While she continues to use her newer phone, the returned model allowed her to reclaim lost photos.

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