Russian sailor's 'message in a bottle' found on beach in Alaska 50 years on
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Russian sailor's 'message in a bottle' found on beach in Alaska 50 years on

'SENDING out an S-O-S, sending out an S-O-S. Sending out an S-O-S' - goes the famous 1979 hit by The Police - only this message wasn't an S-O-S at all, it was instead a message of greeting and a wish for "happy sailing".

A message in a bottle thrown overboard from a Russian sailor fifty years ago has washed up on a beach in Alaska.

A man gathering firewood noticed the bottle in the sand and was amazed to find a message inside, still dry and intact.

Tyler Ivanoff, who found the bottle near his village of Shishmaref pried open the plastic stopper on the bottle with his teeth and found the message, which was written in Russian and dated back just over 50 years.

Translated, the note read:

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"Sincere greetings! From the Russian Far East Fleet mother ship VRXF Sulak. We wish you good health and long years of life and happy sailing. 20 June 1969."

"It was still dry on the inside and still smelled like wine or whatever, old alcohol. The note was dry," he told the Nome Nugget newspaper.

Mr Ivanoff posted a picture of the bottle and the note on Facebook on 5 August.

Amazingly, it was picked up by a Russian TV network who tracked the note by its return address in Vladivostok to a retired Soviet ship captain now living in Crimea.

Anatoly Botsanenko, interviewed by the station in a naval uniform, said he served on the Sulak in 1969 when he was 35.

Peering at the message on the reporter's phone, Mr Botsanenko said, "That's not my handwriting." But he then recognised the return address as his old home in Vladivostok.

"It's pretty cool how a small photo grew into a story," Mr Ivanoff posted on Facebook.

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At the height of the cold-war, it's somewhat pleasing to find a message of peace and harmony sent out to the world - amidst all the American-Russian chaos of the 60s.