Found footage - The camera that floated across the North Sea | News | DW | 01.12.2017
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North Sea camera mystery

Found footage - The camera that floated across the North Sea

A video camera that washed up on a German North Sea island has presented a modern-day message-in-a-bottle challenge to those who found it. They're trying to trace the owner who left it on a Yorkshire beach.

Deutschland Kamerafund auf Hallig Süderoog (picture-alliance/dpa/H. Spreer)

The modern "message-in-the-bottle" from England awaits its owner on coastal Süderoog

German and English media on Friday widened the search for a fair-haired boy with a plastic bucket who videoed himself in England's Thornwick Bay.

The young man's watertight "action-cam" was somehow washed away and swept hundreds of kilometers to Süderoog, a low-lying German island across the North Sea.

It was found among flotsam on November 2 by Roland Spreer, 67, whose son Holger Spreer and wife Nele Wree, coastal park employees and Süderoog's sole residents, examined the camera's undamaged digital contents.

Its 11 minutes of footage show the boy enjoying a day at the beach in summer shorts and a T-shirt, before waves toppled his camera from a rock pool ledge into the sea. By early Friday, the video had been viewed 86,000 times, apparently without anyone claiming ownership.

Departure point

One online viewer, identified as Erwin by the newspaper Schleswig-Holstein Zeitung (SHZ), said the beach filmed was Thornwick Bay, near the Flamborough Cliffs on England's East Yorkshire coast.

Read more: Tsunami carried Japanese animals to US

The video was date-coded September 1, 2017, suggesting its odyssey lasted two months.

Nele Wree told the SHZ that a friend with the German Maritime Rescue Service (DGzRS) had contacted English rescue service colleagues.

Roundabout trip

A simulation of currents and wave action done by the DGzRS in Bremen showed the camera had floated zig-zag 800-kilometers (500 miles) across the North Sea.

In a direct line, Thornwick Bay and Süderoog lies 570 kilometers apart.

"Perhaps the young boy will eventually get his camera back," said Holger Spreer.

Despite its odyssey, the couple also had good news for "action-cam" manufacturers: The camera in a clear plastic case, although without battery power, is still virtually undamaged.

ipj/rc (epd, dpa)

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