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18th Nov 2023

Message in a bottle written by Massachusetts 5th grader found in France 26 years later

Ryan Grace

The letter was dated from October 1997

A Frenchman has made international headlines after stumbling across a message in a bottle written over two decades ago.

The bottle was tossed into the sea 26 years earlier by a 5th grader from Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Carol Archambeault, an English teacher at the public school in the town of Sandwich told FOX news:

“It’s crazy to think it took that long for someone to find it. The bottle is so old, I can see why people are so interested in it.” 

The message, faded after years of travel, was penned by then 5th grader Benjamin Lyons, and begins “Dear Beachcomer”…

Message from the 90s part of a school science project

Dated October 1997, the letter was written as part of a science unit on ocean currents led by teacher Frederic Hemmila. 

A former colleague of Hemmila revealed the idea behind the project:

“It was a culminating activity after studying ocean currents and tides. They were trying to see where the letters would end up, where the currents would take them.” 

Each student put their name, the date, and the location of their school in Sandwich with the hope their words would one day reach people in far away lands.

They would also include a questionnaire that the lucky person who found the message could fill out.

Here’s a picture of the questions included in Benjamin Lyons’ letter…

From Sandwich to the sandy coasts of France

Of course there’s a reason why Benjamin Lyons’ letter has become a topic of discussion – it was found!

Not only that, but it was found 71-year-old French fisherman Hubert Eriau after travelling across the Atlantic ocean.

He came across the message in August, and it was in perfect condition having stayed sealed for almost 30 years.

Eriau even honoured Lyon’s request to return the message to the school, and sent this package stateside last month…

The package included a picture of Eirau and also contained the original letter from Lyons. 

Absolutely incredible stuff – several American media outlets are trying to track down Benjamin Lyons, who would now be in his mid-30s.

The search for the original sender goes on!