By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Watches, phones and jewelry are among the things the American River Lost and Found divers are used to stumbling upon – but some dives reveal rare discoveries.

Earlier this week, Karl Bly and Matt Spruitenburg came across a prosthetic leg.

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“A leg,” Bly said. “It’s virtually worthless to anybody else but it’s so valuable to the person who owns it.”

This particular leg was most valuable to John Hovis, who realized it had disappeared while he was rafting over Memorial Day weekend.

“I knew I was hitting the rapids right there, but I didn’t know it was going to shoot me up out of the water,” Hovis said.

Caught in the rapids, a mystery hero helped him to safety. But he feared finding his prosthetic leg was a lost cause.

“I already made a doctor’s appointment to get a referral and get a new leg made,” Hovis said.

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But its return, and the made who made it happen, left him emotional.

“I greatly appreciate what you did, man,” Hovis said to both divers, thankful they stepped up to help him find his footing once again.

It’s why the American River Lost and Found team exists in the first place.

“Tears of joy – that’s the goal. We like to get people their stuff back,” Spruitenburg said.

Oddly enough, it’s not the first leg they’ve found. Another one was spotted and returned last summer.

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The folks with the American River Lost and Found say their new mission is to find the mystery man who helped save Hovis, tangled in the rafts on Sunday.