A couple who found a message in a bottle on a Donegal beach are reaching ever closer to finding the sender.
Rita Simmonds and Ciaran Marron from Belfast made a thrilling discovery while walking on Magheraroarty Beach on Wednesday last.
Embedded in the sand was a glass bottle, containing a note and two US dollar bills.
Once the bottle was carefully opened, Rita and Ciaran set about making contact with the young author of the note. The 11-year-old’s name was Sasha, and in a handwritten letter, they shared the story of how they threw the bottle into the sea an incredible three years ago, 5,000km away in Ocean City, Maryland, USA. There was a phone number, but the number was disconnected. The couple then took their search online.
The story has gone worldwide since first published on Donegal Daily last week. Interest has come from news outlets all over, and Rita and Ciaran have been making steady progress in tracking down Sasha.
On Saturday, they found out that Sasha is a boy, from Minsk, Belarus, who once lived in Maryland. It is thought that he may have returned to school in Europe. Rita and Ciaran then reached out to Sasha’s father, to a family member in Russian, to a neighbour in Maryland and two newspapers in Maryland.
By Monday, a Baltimore newspaper had made contact with the couple. It emerged that a reporter with the paper has a friend who knows Sasha’s parents.
Rita and Ciaran say they are delighted with the progress and are now hoping to get a video call with the boy himself.
“He must have wondered over the years what happened to the bottle,” Rita told Donegal Daily.
Rita and Ciaran have been enjoying unravelling the mystery of their exciting find in Donegal over th past week. They like to visit Falcarragh and the surrounding beaches of Donegal regularly, but never expected their New Year walk to take such a turn. The story is set to grow further in the coming days with news outlets in the US taking note.
“We’ve found amazing things on the beach before, like fossils and stones, but never anything like this,” Rita said.