iPhone home: US farmer's lost mobile returned from Japan after falling into grain shipment

Mobile travelled from Oklahoma to Hokkaido and back 'without one scratch'

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The Independent Tech

An American farmer who dropped his iPhone in a shipment of grain bound for Japan has had his device returned in working order nine months later.

Kevin Whitney of Chickasha, Oklahoma was inspecting a grain silo in October last year when his smartphone fell out of his top pocket and was buried in 280,000 pounds of grain.

“I had it in my pocket and I bent over to work on a copper bottom door and it fell out of my pocket into my grain pit and went up the elevator,” 53-year-old Whitney told local station KFOR News. “I thought I’ll never see that phone again.”

 However, the iPhone’s adventures were just beginning and after being sailed down the Mississippi River to Louisiana it was shipped off to the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Kevin Whitney had his phone returned to him in perfect working order.

There it was mixed in with 2 million bushels of grain before being spotted by a factory worker who alerted the grain terminal’s bosses.

"Lo and behold, I get a call from a guy who works with this grain company in Convent, Louisiana, saying a guy at a feed mill in Japan found the phone," said Mr Whitney.

The smartphone was sent to Eric Slater, who manages the Zen-Noh Grain Corporation terminal in Louisiana. Slater charged the device and then confirmed its owner by checking the photos – which included snaps of Whitney’s daughter’s wedding and a family holiday.

“It’s crazy I can’t believe it. What really shocked me about it all was what a small world it is. There a lot of a lot of meaningful pictures on it so we are real glad to get the phone back,” said Whitney.

Despite the seemingly improbable journey of the phone, Slater says it wasn't the first time a mobile had got lost in a grain silo. "Frankly, I field about a phone a month," he said.