WARNING: This post contains graphic images.
Five years after he was last seen, the body of German yachtsman Manfred Fritz Bajorat was discovered drifting off the coast of the Philippines. Bajorat was found in a mummified state, still on-board the vessel from which he went missing.
Since news broke of the discovery foul play has been ruled out and the cause of death has been identified as a heart attack.
Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor told AFP news agency, “The cause of death is acute myocardial infarction based on the autopsy by [the] regional crime laboratory.”
The corpse was discovered after two local fisherman alerted authorities about the drifting yacht, was found slumped over a table near the on-board radio telephone.
“The German national is estimated to have been dead for more or less seven days,” Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said in a statement.
The mummified state of Bajorat’s body can be attributed to dry ocean winds and salty air.
Bajorat’s fateful journey began in 2008. He was sailing with his ex-wife Claudia, now deceased, who is believed to have left the yacht shortly after commencing the voyage.
The ABC previously reported various possessions were found on board the yacht, including personal items that contributed to Bajorat’s identification.
Authorities recovered photos of Bajorat’s family, and according to The Sun, the image below features his wife, daughter Nina, a friend and his partner. Authorities also uncovered his sailing documentation along with the yacht’s GPS and radio. His wallet could not be found.
Authorities also uncovered an emotional letter on the sailor’s online forum. The note, addressed to his ex-wife, read: “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.”
Claudia died of cancer in 2010.
Before the cause of death had been confirmed, German forensic criminologist Dr Mark Benecke suggested Bajorat’s death was likely sudden and unexpected. “The way he is sitting seems to indicate the death was unexpected, perhaps from a heart attack,” he told BILD newspaper.
The ABC reports the corpse was taken to Barobo town on the east coast of Mindanao island. The islands police force stated the German embassy was arranging for a family member to fly to the Philippines.
“It appears he has a daughter based in Germany and the embassy is to fly her here to identify the dead body,” Barobo police Chief Inspector Dominador Plaza told the AFP.