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Camera lost on South Maitland river rafting ride ‘resurfaces’ in another province, three years later

SOUTH MAITLAND, N.S. – Gone. For good.

Cinda Willigar knew it, after she lost her camera on a river rafting ride in South Maitland in May 2015.

“Half way through our awesome trip riding the rapids, I placed the camera in my pocket and snapped it shut,” the Brookfield woman said. “Later, when we were getting out of the Zodiac I felt my pocket and it was empty.”

By rights, it should have been gone, along with the images she had captured of a fun outing with her friend, Liz Wilcox.

But strange things happen.

On April 24, Chris McMahon, who lives in Sackville, N.B., was at Dorchester Cape when he made a discovery.

“It was my day off, and it was nice and sunny, so I decided to go for a walk with blue bags and clean up the beach,” he said. “My foot his something that felt like a rock, but I wiped the dirt off and realized it was a camera.”

He could tell it had been used. It was manufactured in 2009 and had an expiry date of May 2017.

“But it was waterproof, so I took it to Ivan’s Camera, in Moncton, to see if they could develop the film,” he said.

McMahon soon had several photos and set out to solve the mystery of where they had been taken. He’d driven through parts of Nova Scotia while on holiday, and thought he recognized the remnants of an old bridge he’d seen in South Maitland. He confirmed it, using Google satellite views.

“It was almost like finding a message in bottle, but with no name or address,” he said.

He posted photos and information online, asking people to share the post, and contact him if they recognized the people in the images.

And, as mentioned, strange things happen.

“Someone shared it on the Amherst buy-and-sell site,” said Willigar. “I’m originally from Springhill and people saw it and thought they recognized me.”

Closer investigation confirmed it.

“When I saw Liz, and Morgan MacDonald, who owns Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures, in the pictures with me I couldn’t believe it. I knew they were the pictures from my long-lost camera.”

Willigar saw the Facebook post less than three hours after it went up.

She contacted McMahon, who sent the photos and the camera to her by train within days. She then surprised Wilcox by handing her a box containing the items.

“I’m so grateful to Chris,” she said. “Not many people would have tried to have those photos developed and then try to track down the people, but if he hadn’t done this, I would never have had those memories to give to Liz.”

To thank him for his efforts and show good deeds are rewarded, Morgan MacDonald has agreed to give McMahon and a friend a free Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures rafting experience.

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