Family reconnects with lost photos after kayaker finds missing camera seven years later

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Seven years ago a family took a canoeing trip down the Zumbro River.

”We like the rivers and the streams a lot, so we decided to go down the Zumbro River,” Kirt Khalil said.

With a waterproof camera to capture the memories, they thought they were good to go, but at some point, the camera was lost.

”I think it was a little bit after he had jumped in after his dog Jack, that we had noticed that the camera went missing,” Kirt’s brother Miles Khalil said.

While Kirt thinks it may have gone missing when their canoe tipped over, either way, their camera and the photos they took on it were gone.

”We were like well the camera’s gone,” Miles said. ”Not much we can do about it now,” Kirt said.

However; last weekend in 2022, those once-lost memories were found with the help of a local kayaker.

”I was kayaking with a friend of mine on Saturday, and one thing I do every time I kayak is I like to look for agates,” Rochester resident Lanae Ableitner said.

Lanae was kayaking down the Zumbro River when she noticed something was peeking out beneath a rock.

”When I picked it up, at first I thought it was an old flip phone, but after looking at it for a little bit, I realized it was a camera,” Ableitner said.

Laeae went back to the campsite and put the memory card in her computer to see if she would recognize anyone in the photos.

”I got down the Zumbro a lot, so I figured I would at least recognize someone but no, I didn’t know anybody,” Ableitner said.

So, she took to social media and put the photo on her Facebook page asking if anyone knew the people in the photo. Just two hours later, Ableitner got connected with the brothers in the photo.

”Once something is lost in a river or even in the lake or something like that. You never expect for it to be returned and especially seven years later is incredible,” Miles said.

”We aren’t all in the same place. We’re a family of six. We’re not in the same place a lot, so when we are, it’s nice to have those,” Kirt said.

Now, this family can relive this special day, thanks to a fellow nature lover with a good eye.

”I know that they were somebody’s memories, somebody’s precious memories. You never know what’s happened between then and now,” Ableitner said.

”It’s just a good-hearted person that’s willing to do that kind of stuff and say you know it’s been seven years. These people might want their pictures back,” Miles said.

Lenae sent out the SD card in the mail on Tuesday so Kirt should be receiving the photos within the next few days.

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