Capsized: A Reporter's Notebook

Get the News newsletter.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the journey of the James Robert Hanssen was the fact that against all odds, the video you can see on the Dateline NBC episode Capsized was recovered from the ocean.

My colleagues, Dateline NBC producers Lynn Keller and Dorothy Newell, were in touch with expedition coordinator Greg Spooner and contacted the crew as they attempted to find the capsized rowboat.

With the help of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the crew chartered a plane and on the very first day, to their amazement, they spotted the rowboat bobbing upside down in the sea. After chartering a tug boat for the 350-mile recovery effort, the crew was able to re-find and retrieve the boat --- which also took a lot of effort and luck – about a week later.

The crew then hoped against hope that the scientific data they had collected, and the videos they made, were not destroyed by the corrosive salt water.

After the video hard drives were brought to a production company in Toronto, technicians there were able to carefully clean and restore almost all the damaged footage. The process took skill and a little bit of luck --- but it succeeded! And that’s how we were able to show the journey of the four crew members aboard the James Robert Hanssen airing in the Dateline episode Capsized, airing Sunday, April 13th.