Video shows ocean racers' discovery of mummified sailor
Published Tuesday, March 8, 2016 2:54PM EST
A professional sailing team has released video from their grisly discovery of a mummified sailor found on a derelict yacht, in an effort to dispel accusations that they could have done more to save the man’s life.
The LMAX Exchange racing team says it found the yacht and its deceased occupant on Jan. 31, while participating in a Pacific Ocean race from Australia to Vietnam. The racers say they reported their grisly discovery to the Falmouth Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard in Guam, and remained at the scene until they were told to carry on with their race.
The ghost ship was rediscovered by fishermen nearly a month later, after it had drifted to near the coast of the Philippines.
The body on board has been identified as belonging to Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, of Germany.
Earlier this week, the Daily Mail reported that an autopsy suggested Bajorat died of a heart attack one week prior to the discovery of his body, in late February.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the LMAX Exchange crew said they informed the proper authorities after they discovered Bajorat’s body on Jan. 31, and that the vessel ID they provided was used to notify Bajorat’s next of kin. The team added that they didn’t publicize the discovery because they didn’t want to cause “unnecessary alarm within the international sailing community by announcing the death of a then unknown sailor.”
“As a company, we also felt it was inappropriate to create a news story out of such tragic circumstances,” the team added.
The LMAX Exchange team published a three-minute video of the discovery on Facebook on Tuesday, recorded with a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. In the video, the crewmember wearing the camera can be seen boarding the derelict vessel and inspecting it for signs of life. The crewmember arrives on the top deck to find it empty, and initially tells his team via walkie-talkie that it’s deserted. However, when he ducks down to go below deck, he suddenly jumps back and swears in surprise.
The body is not visible in the video.
LMAX Exchange crew member boards Sayo yacht south of Guam in R...
VIDEO: After coming across a dismasted yacht in Race 7, LMAX Exchange tried to make contact with the boat. However when their attempts failed a crew member bravely volunteered to swim aboard to investigate. Initially it appeared that there was no one on board but then the tragic discovery was made of a lone German sailor's body.This video shows the LMAX Exchange crew blasting the horn to get attention and the head cam footage from the crew member that swam across to Sayo.WARNING: The video cuts short before the crew member goes below deck but does contain an expletive which you may find offensive. Following media reports suggesting that further action could have been taken by the LMAX Exchange team which could have helped save the life of the lone German sailor recently discovered deceased off the coast of the Philippines, we are releasing this footage and accompanying statement on behalf of the team to put an end to this speculation.Once again, our thanks go to Oliver Cardin and his crew for investigating the yacht before making the tragic discovery, and our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Manfred Fritz Bajorat. We hope he can now rest in peace.The full statement from the Race Office can be read here: http://clipperroundtheworld.com/news/article/clarification-regarding-lmax-exchange-discovery-of-deceased-german-sailorPosted by Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on Monday, March 7, 2016
The LMAX Exchange team says the crewmember who allegedly discovered the body is still “distressed” by the incident, and does not wish to publicly address it.
“We feel deeply saddened for Mr. Bajorat’s family who have now been subjected to the publication of graphic images,” the statement adds.
Images of the deceased captain have been circulating online, showing him slumped over at a bench, with one arm draped across the table in front of him.