Mysterious 'cry for help' from stranded sailor found on beach

The distress note and blue aluminium bottle, which was found on a Dutch beach

The distress note and blue aluminium bottle, apparently from a sailor stranded off the Suffolk coast, which was found on a Dutch beach - Credit: WIM GOBBELS

A mysterious message from an apparently stranded sailor has been found in a bottle washed up on a beach. 

The handwritten note suggests the writer's yacht had been sunk off the Suffolk coast, but there is no information about who had sent the message and when - or indeed if - they were genuinely in trouble. 

The blue flask was discovered on a stretch of beach between Noordwijkerhout and Zandvoort in the Netherlands by local resident Wim Gobbels. 

However, parts of the message - written in black ink on white notepaper- are difficult to read. 

The stretch of beach between Noordwijkerhout and Zandvoort where the bottle was found

The stretch of beach between Noordwijkerhout and Zandvoort where the bottle was found - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

It appears to say: “Please - to whom it may concern - I've sunken my yacht and I’m stranded on some sort of shoal. 

“<Illegible> off the coast of Suffolk. I’m in ‘real?’ bad. I need food/water. Help! I need help!” 

On the bottle, the word ‘HELP’ is written in large capital letters in black ink. 

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Mr Gobbels said the note was within the aluminium bottle, which had a "very good screw cap" that prevented the paper from becoming wet. 

He found the bottle about two weeks ago, but said: “There is no name or date on the message but it is clear that it is about a person who is in danger whose yacht is in problems off the Suffolk coast. 

“I do have the opinion this is serious and not some kind of ‘joke message'."

The sailor in question apparently did not have a mobile phone or other communications device with which to contact authorities that could have come to their rescue. 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency works to prevent the loss of life at sea, but a spokeswoman was unable to shed any light on where the note may have come from. 

She said: “If you see anyone or suspect that someone is in distress at our coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

Do you know where the note could have come from? If so, please email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.