Owners of mysterious drone found near Port Renfrew identified
Published Wednesday, August 26, 2020 9:40AM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 26, 2020 9:49AM PDT
VICTORIA -- The owner of a mysterious, waterlogged drone has been identified after a report from CTV News aired last week.
The drone was found at the bottom of Harris Creek, near Port Renfrew, by the McClelland family.
It doesn’t work anymore, but the memory card was full of family vacation videos and sweeping vistas of Vancouver Island.
Turns out it belongs to the Hawkins family from Thunder Bay, ON.
“My wife and family were lamenting that fact that we had missed all the great footage from that day,” John Hawkins said.
“Miraculously it showed up again. I was blown away when I saw that story.”
The Hawkins family visited Vancouver Island for about 10 days in July. Hawkins was using the drone to capture a special moment on their trip to Port Renfrew.
“We were at Harris Creek...You look down and crystal clear beautiful water, nice little rocks to swim off of and we thought it’s a great location,” Hawkins said.
“It was a special place for sure. It was just a beautiful day.”
But Hawkins thought the video memories were lost forever when the drone crashed and then vanished from sight.
“It clipped this tree and obviously didn’t deal with it too well, it whirled out. I could see it on the video," he said. "I wasn’t sure if it was hung up in a tree or in the actual creek.
“It was a bummer for sure to lose the drone, but I was more upset about losing the footage, honestly,” he said.
Whenever the Hawkins family goes on vacation, John captures the memories, and turns them into home movies. Fortunately, most of the video from this trip was already backed up, but not all of it.
“I didn’t lose anything else, it was just, you know, that day," he said.
The drone sat at the bottom of Harris Creek until it was discovered by the McClelland family from Duncan.
Attempts to dry out the waterlogged drone were unsuccessful but they discovered the memory card was still full.
“I was so excited when I had the opportunity put the footage out there, and I believed from the beginning that we were going to find them," Christy McClelland said. "I had no doubts."
After CTV News aired a story last week about the McClelland’s discovery, the Hawkins got a text message about it.
“My wife was in the bedroom with one of the kids and got the message, started freaking out," Hawkins said.
“I thought the house was on fire. I went running to the bedroom and she’s like, 'You gotta see this.'"
The two families have now made contact and swapped stories about the drone and plans are in the works to send it back to Thunder Bay.
“I kind of feel like we’re connected in this crazy way to these strangers we might never meet," McClelland said.