A sailor whose mummified body was discovered on a drifting yacht may have died just a week beforehand, according to a recent autopsy report. Previous reports suggested that Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, from Germany, may have died seven days earlier when he set sail around the globe.
Bajorat’s body was discovered by two fisherman. He had written a thirty-two word memorium to his wife Claudia, who passed away from cancer in May 2010.
“Thirty years we’re 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” read the memorium. These words were unearthed on an online internet forum for sailors dubbed kaktusguenther.de.
Bajorat’s 40-foot yacht, named SAYO, was spotted forty miles off the coast of Philippines. It had been sailing across the world for the last 20 years. Upon inspecting the yacht, much of the cabin was submerged underwater. Photo albums of his family and friends littered the area.
Salty ocean helped rapidly mummify man’s body
Bajorat’s body was found hunched over a radio telephone, which gives the impression that he was attempting to call Mayday to save his life when he died. The salt and salty air from the ocean helped mummify his body.
Police have been trying to determine when his final voyage first took sail and the last person he spoke to. Bajorat and his wife split in 2008, who frequently traveled with him. She died two years later of cancer.
Although pictures of his family filled the cabin, Filipino authorities requested that his 32-year-old daughter Nina provide a DNA sample to verify his identity. Experts from the Philippines intend to reconstruct the man’s mummified face.
Police confirmed that Bajorat died of a heart attack a week before his mummified body was discovered. “The cause of death is acute myocardial infarction based on the autopsy by (the) regional crime laboratory,” said police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said. “The German national is estimated to have been dead for more or less seven days,” he added.
Nevertheless, officials still need definitive proof that the man died a sudden death to shut the case. “Everything aboard leads us to believe it is him, Manfred Bajorat, but we do need that extra bit of forensic detail,” said the police chief.
Nina, Bajorat ‘s daughter, is herself a sea captain. She has been working with German Embassy officials in the Philippine capital Manila to help identify her father’s body.
Piecing the puzzle together
“The best thing would be to have a DNA sample from Nina and we hope she can help out in this regard. The German Embassy has told us they have located Nina,” said Chief Navales. “When we have the information we need then finally his soul can rest in peace,” he added.
One of the documents discovered on the yacht was a certificate, which confirmed Manfred and Claudia had crossed the equator. Filipino officials plan to disassemble the yacht as part of an investigation into the man’s death.
The police went onto to note that it is “somewhat mysterious” that additional articles were not found on the yacht. For this reason, officers are taking the boat apart.
“If it is indeed Manfred Bajorat he died fulfilling his life-long dream. He wanted to sail the world. And he died thus. He achieved his goal,” Chief Navales said. “It was too early, he died seemingly quite suddenly. But if you want my opinion; for an ambitious sailor like him it was at the end, nevertheless, a good death. Better than suffering a long illness in a hospital somewhere.”