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Mystery of the unidentified floating structure solved

The mystery of who was behind a boat that washed up on the Irish coast after apparently coming from Canada has been solved.

What was at first thought of as a mysterious flotation device from outer space turned out to be a solar-paneled boat donated to a homeless youth.

The houseboat came ashore on Drum Beach, Belmullet, in November 2016, with clues as to who made it but no signs of life.

The strange-looking craft had solar panels on the top but was badly damaged, despite still being afloat.

Inside was an inscription saying: “I, Rick Small, donate this structure to a homeless youth to give them a better life that Newfoundlanders choose not to do! No Rent No Mortgage No hydro”.

The message Rick Small left on the inside of the houseboat before it made its transatlantic voyage

At the time, efforts to track down Rick Small provided futile and it was not known whether he was alive or dead.

It turned out the 62-year-old was a passionate advocate of solar technology and built the boat to highlight the danger of climate change to the Arctic.

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