In the course of performing more than 50,000 data recovery jobs every year, Ontrack Data Recovery engineers see some bizarre data loss cases reach their labs.For the fifth straight year, we have compiled a list of the strangest and most extreme data loss cases from the past year. Check out the Top Five Data Disasters of 2008 Video, then read the full list here.

10. Overboard - A round-the-world sailing trip ended poorly when a traveler’s boat capsized on the last day of her trip with her laptop on board. Luckily, Ontrack Data Recovery engineers were able to recover 100 percent of the data, which documented her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

9. All Cooped Up - When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, a newly wed couple thought both their engagement and wedding photos would never be recovered. Their fears grew worse when a local data recovery provider deemed the drive “corroded beyond repair.” Two and half years later, the couple dug up the water-logged drive from their basement to give Ontrack a try. The customers were glad they did; all of the engagement and wedding pictures were recovered.

8. Gone Fishing - A vacationing lawyer thought she could fish with her father and keep up with some business at the same time. Furious that she had brought a laptop into the fishing boat, her father’s friend threw her laptop bag (containing the laptop and backup media) overboard. The fully-clothed lawyer jumped in after the laptop, but proved to be too late. Lucky for her, valuable business and tax information were retrieved by Ontrack Data Recovery’s experienced engineers.
7. That’s a Wrap - An independent film maker was putting the final touches on his latest Western using his MacBook Pro when it started making odd noises and crashed. Without a backup copy, the filmmaker worried his year of hard work would go wasted. Using Ontrack Data Recovery services, the film was recovered, completed and sold. It is now available internationally on DVD.
6. Stolen Goods - A laptop was stolen from a family’s house along with a purse, car keys and the family car. The car was found the following day by the riverside, but with no sign of the laptop or handbag. Days later, a Good Samaritan arrived at the burglarized home with a dripping laptop bag (laptop inside). His children had found it washed up on the beach. How was the Good Samaritan able to find the owner? The thief had stuffed the handbag into the laptop bag before it was thrown in the river.

5. Dog Gone Wild - A rowdy dog knocked a portable USB drive off the family room coffee table, rendering it unreadable by the family computer. At stake were five years of family photos, which were all recovered via Ontrack Data Recovery, a division of Kroll Ontrack.

4. Baby Teeth - Kroll Ontrack received an SD card from a camera with lots of teeth marks on it. The customer indicated a “wild animal” had gotten hold of it and chewed it. It turns out the wild animal he was referring to was his 2-year-old son.
3. Swept Away - A routine house cleaning went awry when a one GB flash drive was sucked away with food crumbs by a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum was so powerful that the traces from the drive were pulled from the circuit board and the connector was torn loose.
2. It’s a Jungle Out There - A wildlife research institute project came to a sudden halt when one of the flash tracking chips from a Florida panther’s collar was physically damaged in the wild. The critical panther preservation data was successfully recovered.
And finally, the number one most remarkable data disaster of 2008…
1. Roast Laptop - A gentleman put his laptop into the kitchen oven prior to leaving for vacation in order to protect it from burglars if the house was by chance broken into while away. His wife came home and got to the oven before he did to cook a roast chicken. The oven cooked not only the chicken, but the drive too.