The message written by Lyons reads in part: “Please return. Where did you find the bottle?” (Brandy Clifford, Oakridge School, Sandwich, Massachusetts)

A French man came across a handwritten message in a bottle that washed ashore on the country’s west coast — 26 years after the bottle was thrown into the sea by a Massachusetts fifth-grader.

“It’s crazy to think that it took this long for someone to find him,” Carol Archambeault, an English teacher in the Sandwich Public School District, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital.

“The bottle is so old that I understand why people are so interested in it,” he added.

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The faded letter, addressed “Dear Beachcomber,” was written by Benjamin Lyons, a fifth-grader at Forestdale School in Sandwich.

Dated October 1997, the letter was written as part of a scientific unit on ocean currents led by teacher Frederic Hemmila.

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Frederic J. Hemmila and Carol Archambeault taught together at Forestdale School in Sandwich, Massachusetts, in the 1990s. (Carol Archambeault)

Hemmila was not immediately available to respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

“It was a culminating activity after studying ocean currents and tides,” said Archambeault, his fellow teacher. “They were trying to see where the letters would end up, where the currents would take them.”

In the letters, the students provided their names, the date they wrote the letters and where they attended school in Sandwich.

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Lyons, a fifth-grader, wrote that he thanked the finder for being “kind enough” to take the bottle.

He explained that his class was studying currents and dropped the bottles into Nantucket Sound, hoping whoever found them could answer some questions.

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Here is a photo of the message in a bottle, as returned by Hubert Erie, 71 years old, French. (Brandy Clifford, Oakridge School, Sandwich, Massachusetts)

Hemmila had a friend, Archambeault remembered, who was a boat captain.

Every year, Hemmila’s friend would take the bottles and throw them into the ocean, a practice discontinued a few years later so as not to contribute to marine waste, according to Archambeault.

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“Now, obviously, we know it’s not that green,” Archambeault said.

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These are the photos of the message in a bottle, returned by Hubert Erie, 71 years old, French. (Brandy Clifford, Oakridge School, Sandwich, Massachusetts)

“But at that time it was a very exciting activity. The children were waiting to see if they had any answers,” he added.

In his message in a bottle, Lyons included a few questions in case anyone found it: “Where did you find the bottle? What condition was it in? Was there anything else around the bottle besides water and rocks? How did you find it?”

Attempts by Fox News Digital to contact Lyons, who would have been in his mid-30s at that point, were unsuccessful.

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Archambeault said Hemmila and her students went to great lengths to seal the bottles in hopes that they would reach distant shores with the letters still intact.

“I know that [they] they sealed them with wax, so they were found in pretty good condition,” Archambeault said.

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The students sealed the bottles with wax so that if anyone found them, the messages written inside would still be intact. (Brandy Clifford, Oakridge School, Sandwich, Massachusetts)

She continued, “That, the gentleman found in France It was in fair condition because no water had entered the bottle in 26 years.”

Last month, a brown package arrived at Forestdale School, addressed to “Mr. Benjamin Lyons.”

This was very disconcerting to school administrators.

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“So he got here and our secretaries were looking for him at PowerSchool [a classroom attendance and management tool]trying to find out who this guy is,” Brandy Clifford, assistant principal at another local school, Oak Ridge, told Fox News Digital.

Clifford continued, “It came via internal office mail. They thought it was a current student, but they didn’t know who it was.”

At a loss, the administrators decided to open the envelope. Inside they found a note written in French.

In August 2023, fisherman Hubert Eriau, 71, was picking up trash along a beach when he came across an old bottle that had washed ashore.

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He opened it and did exactly what the sender requested.

“Hello sir, bottle found on a sandy beach in Les Sables-d’Olonne, Vendée, France, on 19 August 2023,” the letter reads.

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Fisherman Hubert Eriau, 71, was picking up rubbish on a beach when he came across an old bottle that had washed ashore. After opening it, he wrote a letter to the Massachusetts school where the message inside the bottle had been written by a rough student

“I was on the beach and while I was walking I was picking up rubbish on the beach, it was like he was there for me to find the bottle. There were several barnacles gathered on it,” continues Eirau’s letter, translated from French to English for Fox News Digital.

The package included a photo of Eirau and also contained the original letter from Lyon.

That’s when everyone in the rather small town of Sandwich started putting it together.

“They were over the top, so excited about it,” Clifford said.

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These are the photos of the message in a bottle, returned by Hubert Erie, 71 years old, French. (Brandy Clifford, Oakridge School, Sandwich, Massachusetts)

“Once I saw the name, I said, ‘Oh my God.’ Two days later I was having dinner with his parents.”

Archambeault didn’t have Lyons in his class, but said he taught his sister and brother.

“So I’m familiar with the family,” Archambeault said. “I definitely knew as soon as they said he was Ben Lyons.”

According to Archambeault, over the years, messages from Hemmila students have generated enthusiasm.

“It’s been a long time since one was found,” Archambeault said.

“Obviously a group would end up on Cape Cod,” he added.

“I know we’ve had several in France, so obviously something in the currents must be leading in that direction. And I’m pretty sure we got one from Greenland. So, they traveled really far and the people who find them are kind enough to contact them and respond.”

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