A 5th grader dropped a message in a bottle off Cape Cod 26 years ago. A man in France just found it.

Local News

“Please open message inside!!”

A fifth grader dropped a message in a bottle in the ocean off Cape Cod 26 years ago, and now, decades later, the letter has been returned to Massachusetts after being found on a beach in France.

The letter, written in 1997 by Ben Lyons while a student at Forestdale School in Sandwich, was an assignment for a science class, the Sandwich Enterprise reports. Lyons and his classmates dropped bottles containing messages into the Nantucket Sound in October 1997. According to the newspaper, other bottles from the class have washed up overseas in Greenland and France over the years. 

The message penned by Lyons was found on Aug. 11 on a beach in Les Sables-d’Olonne, Vendée, France, by 71-year-old Hubert Eriau, according to the Enterprise. Eriau, a fisherman, was cleaning up trash on the shore. He told the newspaper Ouest France that the bottle was sealed tightly with wax and labeled, “Please open message inside!!”

The letter from Lyons inside requested whoever found the bottle to write back and share where it was found, according to the Enterprise.

Eriau’s response arrived last week at Oak Ridge School in East Sandwich.

“We got an inter-office envelope that was addressed to this student, Ben, and the Secretaries were looking for him everywhere,” Assistant Principal Brandy Clifford told NBC 10 Boston. “They could not find this fifth grader.”

It wasn’t until the envelope was opened that the school administrators realized who “Ben” was.

“They felt like they found a treasure when they saw a letter from this gentleman from France, and then this letter that was dated in 1997,” Clifford said. 

She told NBC10 Boston that staff at the school intend to keep the letters going by writing Eriau back and thanking him for his response. 

According to the station, Lyons’s family said he could not comment because of his job, but they released a statement on his behalf saying, “It’s great the kids can learn about the oceans and currents from this. Showing what a small world it actually is. We’ve had fun reading the different articles and the interest this has generated.”