Saturday 1 October 2016

'Mummified Mariner' died of heart attack only a week before his body found in boat

WARNING: This article contains an image of the partially mummified body which some readers may find disturbing

Published 03/03/2016 | 08:37

Fishermen recover the yacht off Barobo in the Philippines, in which the mummified sailor was discovered
Fishermen recover the yacht off Barobo in the Philippines, in which the mummified sailor was discovered
A picture thought to show the wife of Mr Bajorat
The remains of Manfred Bajorat. He was last heard from a year ago
Manfred Fritz Bajorat's mummified body was discovered on his abandoned yacht

The sailor whose mummified body was found on a yacht adrift off the southern Philippines died of a heart attack just a week earlier, according to his just released post-mortem examination.

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Police had named the man as German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat (59) after finding his passport on the yacht, but his reasons for being in the waters off the coast of Philippines are still a mystery.

Manfred Fritz Bajorat's mummified body was discovered on his abandoned yacht
Manfred Fritz Bajorat's mummified body was discovered on his abandoned yacht

The cause of death is acute myocardial infarction based on the autopsy by (the) regional crime laboratory," said Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor, national police spokesman.

"The German national is estimated to have been dead for more or less seven days, " he said.

The remains of Manfred Bajorat. He was last heard from a year ago
The remains of Manfred Bajorat. He was last heard from a year ago

Bajorat 's partially mummified remains were found by two fishermen who spotted his vessel drifting off the coast of the southern Philippines.

His last reported sighting was in 2009, but a friend told Germany’s Bild newspaper that he last heard of him a year ago on social media for his birthday.

A picture thought to show the wife of Mr Bajorat
A picture thought to show the wife of Mr Bajorat

On Wednesday it was reported that his daughter Nina, who is herself a sea captain, was flying out to the Philippines to identify and collect her father's body.

It emerged on Tuesday that the explorer had also written a 30-word tribute to his late ex-wife, Claudia, while a series of poignant photographs were found on the yacht.

One of the photographs found onboard the yacht Photo: Barobo Police Station
One of the photographs found onboard the yacht Photo: Barobo Police Station

"Thirty years we've been together on the same path. Then the power of the demons was stronger than the will to live. You're gone. May your soul find its peace. Your Manfred,' it read.

They appear to be his last words, and were posted on kaktusguenther.de, a forum for German sailors.

Police are currently to trace the last people to see Mr Bajorat alive
Police are currently to trace the last people to see Mr Bajorat alive

Pictures have also emerged of Mr Bajorat's wife, who died of cancer in 2010 according to initial reports.

Other badly damaged pictures found on the boat show Mr Bajorat posing with a baby, believed to be his daughter, with the caption: "Our first time with our little Button on the sea."

The yacht was in a state of total disarray when it was discovered this week, as reflected by a humorous message inscribed across the bulkhead: "This is a swell ship for the skipper....but a hell ship for the crew."

It is believed that Mr Bajorat's body may have effectively been “mummified” by the ocean winds, hot temperatures and the salty sea air.

He was found seated at a desk in the radio room, slumped over on his right arm "like he was sleeping”, according to police on Mindanao island where the yacht was taken.

Mr Bajorat had reportedly been sailing around the world for much of the last 20 years. He was initially accompanied by his wife, but the couple split up in 2008 and she subsequently died from cancer.

His 40ft yacht, the Sayo, was spotted floating nearly 40 miles from the coast of the Philippines off Surigao del Sur in the Pacific Ocean two local fishermen.

The vessel was in a battered condition when it was found – the main sail was broken and much of the cabin was underwater. Tins of food, clothes and photo albums were scattered around the cabin.

Another round-the-world yachtsman, identified only as Dieter, told Bild that he met the dead man in Mallorca in 2009.

“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.”

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