OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS)—Footage lost at sea for months has found its way back to shore with the help from last week’s nor’easter and a Facebook community.
Jamie Weir was walking along the shore in Ocean City when he made a discovery near the 30th Street beach.
“I was just walking on the beach because after a storm there’s always stuff that turns up on the beach,” he said.
Weir is an Ocean City High School graduate and now lives in Egg Harbor Township.
He says he usually finds bones, sunglasses and other strange things, but never a GoPro.
“I see a strap out of the sand, I picked it up and was shocked it was a GoPro,” said Weir.
The GoPro was sealed in an air tight container upon discovery and when Weir opened it, he says it was dry.
After taking the device home, Weir says he found footage of a surfer in the water near Atlantic City.
An eight-second clip shows the surfer catching a wave, a quick shot of another surfer on a board and the Atlantic City skyline. It’s the same footage that would eventually help Weir return the GoPro that found its way into Ocean City after nearly six months.
“I’ve seen so many stories like this on Facebook… I just wanted to get it back to him,” Weir tells CBS Philly.
So, Weir posted the video around 9 p.m. Sunday asking for help from South Jersey residents.
“It was like an hour or two and next thing we know everyone liked the story, everyone started sharing it,” he said.
The post spawned dozens of comments and by midnight the owner of the GoPro, Andrew Finnerty, was found.
“I was surprised. I was really, really happy,” Finnerty tells CBS Philly.
Finnerty, who’s worked on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol for the past 17 years, says he was surfing near New York Avenue in Atlantic City back in October last year and lost the GoPro when he was riding in one last wave for the night.
“I looked for it, and looked for it the last 20 minutes before it got dark,” he said. “I went a couple of nights looking for it at low tide. After a couple of days went by and a couple of storms, I had given up hope, but I kinda always had in the back of my mind, if anybody would find it that maybe this would happen. Once something is gone in the ocean, it’s gone, you’ve got to be pretty lucky to find stuff.”
Call it luck or just a man helping out one of his fellow neighbors – the GoPro found its way back home.
“He’s just really happy, that made it that much more cool,” said Weir.
Originally Weir believed the footage may have been missing since 2010 because of the date on the video.
But according to Finnerty, once the battery dies, the GoPro automatically resets the date.
“I was looking to get a replacement camera, but I guess I can hold off,” Finnerty jokes.
The pair plan to meet this week in Ocean City to return the GoPro.
Finnerty says, “I definitely want to show him my gratitude.”
But Weir says nothing in return is needed. He knew it was the right thing to do and wanted to set a good example for his daughter.