Mummified Sailor Found on Ghost Vessel

A mummified sailor seated at a desk.
A mummified sailor seated at a desk. (Image credit: Barobo Police Station)

A mummified sailor has been found floating aboard a ghost yacht which could have drifted for years in the Pacific Ocean, according to a Philippine police report.

The naturally mummified body of German adventurer Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, was found by two fishermen who spotted a battered vessel in the Philippine Sea about 60 miles from Barabo.

"A white yacht floating with a destroyed sail prompted them to enter the boat to verify further," the Barobo Police Station said in a Facebook post.

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As they got into the yacht, the fishermen made a gruesome discovery. Still stitting at a desk, slumped over on his right arm, was the mummified body of a man. A transmitter handset was just inches away, as if he had tried to make a desperate emergency call.

The fishermen decided to tow the 40-foot yacht, called Sayo, to shore, where police officers began their investigation.

Photographs on board the yacht helped the police identify the corpse as that of Manfred Fritz Bajorat, an experienced mariner who had been sailing for the past 20 years.

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Certificates found on the vessel revealed Bajorat and his wife Claudia crossed the equator aboard another ship, the Hyundai Renaissance in 2008.

In that year, however, the couple split. Bajorat continued his round-the-world sail alone; Claudia died from cancer in 2010.

The mummy is estimated to be between one year and seven years old. It’s yet unknown how long the dead mariner had been sailing on his yacht: sightings of him have not been reported since 2009.

A yachtsman told the German magazine Bild that he met Bajorat in Mallorca in 2009.

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"He was a very experienced sailor. I don’t believe he would have sailed into a storm. I believe the mast broke after Manfred was already dead," he told Bild.

Forensic examiners said natural mummification occurred because dry ocean winds, hot temperatures and salty air helped preserve the body. Post-mortem examination found no evidence of foul play, so it is believed Bajorat had died of natural causes.

The final position in which the body was mummified suggests Bajorat possibly succumbed to a heart attack.

German officials are trying to trace any relatives in the hope they can help reconstruct the circumstances and time of death.

Original article published on Discovery News.

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