Russian sailor's 50-year-old message in a bottle found on Alaskan shore

Associated Press
Tyler Ivanoff found the letter while he was out looking for firewood - Tyler Ivanoff

A Russian Navy sailor has been reunited with his 50-year-old letter in a bottle after it washed up on the shore of western Alaska.

Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.

"I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle," Mr Ivanoff said. "When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out."

Mr Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.

Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.

He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.

Russian reporters tracked down Capt Anatolli Botsanenko, who recognised his own signature

"There - exactly!" he exclaimed.

The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Capt Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.

Capt Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife's protests.

Mr Ivanoff's discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.