71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. I’m no math wiz, but I think that’s a lot! The oceans are vast, wild, and mysterious places. There’s a valid reason ancient maps warned of dragons in their watery depths.
For all of the mystery and intrigue, humans have never been able to pull themselves away from the waves. Fishermen were in for a shock when they found a partially sunk yacht off the coast of the Philippines.
Police entered the boat and found the fully mummified remains of the ship’s captain inside.
The Mummified Captain
The sailor was identified as Manfred Bajorat. He has been missing since 2009, and when looking at his corpse, it was first assumed that he had been dead for the last seven years.
Believe it or Not! he had only been dead for seven days!
Initially, police were at a loss over what might have happened. Bajorat’s wallet was missing, and his food and possessions appeared to have been messed with, but the more expensive items on the boat were still there. Foul play was suspected, but not confirmed.
Then there was an autopsy. In spite of the fact that the body looked like it might collapse into dust at the slightest touch, doctors determined that Bajorat died of a heart attack only one week before he was found.
His position at the ship’s radio suggests he might have been trying to call for help when he felt symptoms. While shocking, the state of his body after only seven days is actually normal.
Forensics experts explained a combination of tropical heat, dry wind, and salty sea air can quickly preserve or mummify a corpse.
One Last Goodbye
Just when it seemed the story couldn’t get stranger, the police discovered and released the content of a letter found next to the mummified body.
Bajorat and his wife were separated in 2008, but the letter found next to his body suggests his final moments were spent thinking of her.
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.
It’s a harrowing story, but one thing is easy to take away from it: the ocean is weird. It can kill you in any number of ways, and in the end, it’ll mummify your body practically overnight.
Update – The Mystery Deepens
The original autopsy performed on Bajorat claimed he’d only been dead for a week, but footage was released on March 8th showing a yacht race crew finding Manfred Fritz Bajorat’s stricken boat floating 400 miles from land on January 31.
The crew members of the yacht race team that found the boat reportedly called in what they’d found, waited for the US Coast Guard to arrive, and then left when they were informed they could do so.
The crew and the management of the Clipper Race decided against releasing the video of the discovery until after the important parties had been notified.
What happened after authorities were directed to the boat but before it washed up in the Philippines four weeks later remains a mystery. We’ll be sure to update the story as that mystery continues to unfold.