A WOMAN was thrilled to be reunited with the last text messages sent by her late father after a diver discovered her mobile phone a year after she dropped it into a river.
Personal trainer Erica Bennett thought all was lost when she realised her iPhone, which contained the sentimental messages, had fallen to the bottom of a muddy riverbed while on a relaxing boat trip.
Her father, William, who died from leukemia at the age of 63, had left her one last sweet birthday greeting, which read: ‘Happy Birthday baby!! Hope you are having a great one!!’
Erica, of Charleston, South Carolina, said: ‘That was one of the things that hit me hard. I thought I would never be able to read those words again.
‘All I remember is thinking of all the photos and texts I had just lost in the bottom of that river. Memories I thought I would never get back.’
Last month, Michael Bennett (no relation) was scuba diving in the Edisto River and saw a large rock in eight feet of murky water, with a phone lanyard trailing behind it.
Michael, 25, said: ‘I have found hundreds of phones on my dives, but most of them do not turn on. I figured it would never work.’
Full-time YouTuber Michael took the iPhone home with him, plugged it into a charger and the device turned on.
Since he did not know the iPhone’s password, he removed the SIM card and inserted it into a different phone.
Michael, of Charlotte, North Carolina, eventually found Erica’s phone number by looking through her contacts.
Luckily Erica had kept the same mobile phone number.
The personal trainer was getting into bed when she received Michael’s call.
She said: ‘I thought it was a spam call at first. It was unbelievable. I felt like I was getting punk’d.’
The next day, Michael travelled to meet Erica, reuniting her with her phone and cerished messages from her late father.
She said: ‘There were big waves of emotions. I felt really happy and relieved.’
Despite the phone’s battery having depleted and its screen being dimmer due to spending more than a year on a riverbed, the most important thing to Erica is that she can now read her father’s last words again.
‘I have those memories back now,’ she said.
‘It’s just a phone. But then again, it’s not.’