Falmouth seabed camera returned to owner Paul McGahan

Myia (l) and Maddie McGahan
Image caption Paul McGahan took this photograph of his daughters just moments before 10-year-old Maddie dropped camera and it "bounced" off the deck into the Helford River

A camera with more than 800 family photographs which was found on the seabed off Cornwall has been returned to its owner.

The Samsung was among 30kg (66lb) of rubbish collected by divers on an underwater beach-clean off Falmouth.

Rachel McGahan recognised the photographs when the story was featured on BBC Spotlight.

"All the memories we thought were gone have now been brought back to us," her husband Paul McGahan said.

The McGahans live in Helston with their four children Rosie, 18, Brandon, 15, Maddie, 10 and five-year-old Myia.

Image caption The family had recently returned from a holiday in Florida, but the photographs had not been downloaded from the camera

Mr McGahan was on a day's sailing trip on a friend's yacht in July with Maddie and Myia, when Maddie dropped the camera.

"She wanted to take some pictures from the front of the yacht looking back, but the boat rocked at just the wrong time and the camera fell from her hand and bounced off the deck into the water.

"I actually saw it float past and thought 'it's gone forever'," he said.

"Maddie was properly distraught and although I told her it was just an accident, she was in tears."

Mr McGahan said the camera held all their recent photographs of a trip to the Harry Potter theme park in Florida, which he had not downloaded.

Image caption Diver Mark Milburn said he was amazed that the photographs appeared to be undamaged by the sea water

"The camera can be replaced, but our cherished memories can't, so Rachel and I are convinced someone's been watching over us," he said.

Mrs McGahan was at work at RNAS Culdrose when she saw the Spotlight story on the guard room television.

The diver who found the camera, Mark Milburn from the Atlantic Scuba diving centre in Falmouth, said he was amazed to discover the undamaged images when the camera card dried out.

"I'm just so glad the family have their memories back. It's the right ending - a happy ending," he said.

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