US farmer Kevin Whitney thought his iPhone was lost for good when it fell into a grain elevator last year. Eight months later, it was returned unscathed after it was found in Japan.
Whitney lost his phone in October after it slipped out of his shirt pocket as he was unloading grain from a truck into a silo holding roughly 290,000 bushels of grain.
"I knew it was lost forever and there was no retrieving the thing," said Whitney, 53.
The phone travelled to another Oklahoma grain facility before going down the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers to a depot in Louisiana. From there, the grain was loaded onto ships bound for another grain depot on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. And in late May, Whitney received a call from Eric Slater with the Zen-Noh Grain Corporation.
Slater said he charged the phone and scrolled through to find Whitney's pictures and called him.
"I knew if that was my phone, I'd probably want it back," said Slater, who added it was not uncommon for mobile phones to accidentally fall into grain shipments. "Frankly, I field about a phone a month."
Whitney was shocked the phone made it through such an ordeal in pristine condition.
"It's crazy because everyone's walking around with a cracked iPhone," he said.