Russian TV tracks down the captain that sent a message in a bottle found in Shishmaref

Tyler Ivanoff of Shishmaref holding the bottle he found. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Ivanoff)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - This is a follow up to a story originally reported on Aug. 8.

Russian media tracked down the man who says he tossed the bottle into the sea that was found some fifty years later and two thousand miles away on the coast of Alaska.

The bottle was found by Tyler Ivanoff in Shishmaref. Ivanoff posted the message on Facebook, and it was soon translated into English. While that could have been the end of the story, the Russian state television got wind of it and visited the address listed on the bottle.

That was in Vladivostok, relatively close to Shishmaref by sea. But the woman answering the door said that the man they were looking for hadn’t been there for forty five years.

The Rossiya 1 reporter tracked the address to a former ship captain in Sevastopol, a tropical city on the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea. The town is essentially on the other side of the world from Shishmaref, and sits in a time zone that is 11 hours ahead of Alaska.

Video from Rossiya 1 show the captain, Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, who at the time was 36 years, old reading through the letter. At first, he is doubtful whether it is truly his writing, but he stops when he sees the signature at the bottom.

“There -- exactly!” he exclaims looking at the bottom a copy of the note shown by the reporter on a smartphone.

Botsanenko sheds a few tears on hearing that the ship he captained, the Sulak, was sold for scrap metal in the nineties.

Botsanenko shows souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles that he kept as keepsakes despite his wife's protests.

The Russian reporters end by tossing another message in a bottle out to sea to continue the tradition.

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