The mummified body of a German man has been found on what has been termed a ghost yacht off the coast of the Philippines.
The mummified remains of Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, were recovered on a drifting yacht out in the ocean, 40 miles off the Surigao del Sur province in the Philippines, over the weekend by two fishermen.
Last heard of back in 2009, Bajorat’s ghost yacht is thought to have drifted around the world for several years. His mummified body was found seated at a desk next to the radio telephone on the 40-foot yacht, named Sayo, looking for all the world like he was attempting to make one last desperate mayday call. So far, it is unknown what killed the skipper of the boat.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) February 29, 2016
It is currently unclear how long Bajorat has been dead or exactly how many years the ghost yacht has been drifting the oceans, but reportedly, there have been no sightings of the German man since 2009.
When the two fishermen found the ghost yacht, they immediately boarded it. According to reports, the mast was broken and the cabin was mostly underwater.
The interior of the boat’s cabin was littered with clothing, photo albums, and tins of food. While the man’s wallet was not found, the ghost yacht’s radio, GPS, and other valuable items were still in the yacht’s cabin.
According to a report in the Mirror, the hot temperatures, dry ocean winds, and the salty air had helped to preserve his body in a mummified condition. Bajorat was identified by paperwork found on the ghost yacht.
A photo of Bajorat’s body can be seen in a message tweeted by the Daily Mail, but sensitive readers are warned that the image is graphic in nature.
Missing sailor Manfred Fritz Bajorat who was found mummified on his yacht. pic.twitter.com/Jv7D9Q38ca
— Martin Psota (@MartinPsota) February 29, 2016
According to Inspector Mark Navales of the police in the Philippines, the cause of death was so far unclear, but there were no signs of foul play.
“It is still a mystery to us,” Navales said, adding that to them, it looked like Bajorat “was sleeping.”
According to Goldie Lou Siega, a spokeswoman for the police in the Philippines, they can find no evidence of a second person on board the ghost yacht, and no weapon of any nature was found.
Police in the Philippines are now trying to retrace the skipper’s last voyages on the ghost yacht and to find the last people who have spoken with Bajorat.
Reportedly, Bajorat broke up with his wife, 53, who had been traveling with him on the yacht, back in 2008. She apparently later died from cancer.
Reportedly, he has a daughter named Nina, who works as the captain of a freight vessel. Officials at the German embassy in Manila are working with local officials to trace his family back in Germany.
So far, the last time anyone saw Bajorat was back in 2009 on the island of Mallorca in Spain when he met a fellow world sailor, known only by the name Dieter, who told Germany’s Bild newspaper, “He was a very experienced sailor. I don’t believe he would have sailed into a storm.”
According to News.com.au, Dieter went on to say he believes the mast broke after Bajorat was already dead.
Bild interviewed Dr. Mark Benecke, a forensic criminologist in Cologne, Germany, who told them after viewing the photograph that from the way Bajorat was sitting, it seems to indicate his death was unexpected and was perhaps from a heart attack.
The German skipper’s body has been taken for autopsy in Butuan City in the Philippines, while his yacht has been towed into the port of Barobo for a police inspection.