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Bottled message returns home after 30 years

A message in a bottle thrown into the Rhine 30 years ago floated down Lake Constance, over the Rhine Falls and through both Atlantics to end up in South Africa.

This content was published on January 4, 2012 - 14:56
swissinfo.ch and agencies

It included a fervent request that the finder should return it to the sender – and that’s just what she did after picking it up on a beach near Cape Town.

Werner Kühnis told the Swiss News Agency that he had been astonished to receive a letter from South Africa, since he knew no one there. But he soon recognised the long-forgotten message as one he had thrown into the river in the early 1980s when he had belonged to a local scout group.

He told a local newspaper that the rest of the message had merely contained his name and the name of his village, and an explanation that it had been the scouts’ idea to send it.

The finder had to turn to a German-speaking friend in order to read it, and she then tracked down Kühnis on the internet. Fortunately for the happy end, he still lives only a stone’s throw from his childhood home.

He described the bottle’s journey as “incredible”.

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