Mummified captain found drifting at sea

Mummified Captain Found Drifting at Sea

The mummified remains of a man last seen seven years ago have been found drifting aboard his yacht 50 miles off the Philippines coast.
Mummified captain Manfred Fritz Bajorat drifted on ghost ship for seven years.
The mummified remains of Manfred Fritz Bajorat found at sea aboard half-submerged yacht.

Of all the strange things found on the high seas, this one might be the creepiest…and the saddest. Express reported that two fisherman recently discovered a yacht partially submerged off the coast of Barobo in the Philippines. When they climbed aboard, they came face to face with the grey, mummified remains of its captain amidst strewn food, photo albums and clothes.

He was still sitting at his desk, where he had possibly been using the radio equipment to make a distress call before he died.

Paperwork on board identified the man as Manfred Fritz Bajorat, a German explorer last seen in Mallorca, Spain by a fellow sailor in 2009. Authorities speculate the cause of death may have been a heart attack. A broken mast suggests the yacht may have encountered bad weather.

High temperatures, dry ocean winds, and salty air preserved the corpse as the boat drifted around the globe.

Mummified sailor found at sea

On the condition of the remains, Jeremy Laurance writes for The Independent:

Pictures show a man with silver hair and a beard, his head leaning towards his crooked arm, which is resting on the table, as if he were studying a chart. His body is remarkably intact. Seated in the cabin, it was protected from scavenging sea birds; and the high temperature, low humidity and salty sea-air appear to have combined to produce ideal conditions for preservation of the corpse.

Had he fallen into the water, it would have been a different story. In tropical seas, decomposition and putrefaction begin quickly and progress rapidly. A body may sink to the bottom initially but the bacterial action which causes it to bloat with gas will normally mean that, after three or four days, it will again float to the surface, where it is exposed to sea-birds, sharks and buffeting by the waves.

In cold water, this process may be slowed. The tissues form a soapy, fatty acid known as “grave wax” that protects the corpse and halts bacterial growth. Bodies have been recovered almost completely intact after several weeks in cold seas. However, a natural mummification such as Bajorat’s is rare, as it requires extreme conditions of cold, salinity, acidity or aridity.

UPDATE: The Independent article also reports that, though he has not been seen since 2009, the last message received from Bajorat was a year ago.

Andes Cannibal Survivor Recounts Horrors in New Book

Roberto Canessa, a survivor of the Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes in 1972 and resorted to cannibalism to survive, recounts the horrors in a new book.
Survivors of the Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes in 1972.
Survivors of the Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes in 1972

In 1972 Uruguayan rugby team members Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado, and 43 other passengers of Flight 571 crashed in the Andes mountains. 18 died immediately or in the following days as a result of their injuries. The 27 remaining survivors battled bitter cold temperatures, an avalanche, and other hardships while they waited 72 days for a rescue that never came.

Related: Opera tells the story of survival in the Andes

With very few supplies, surrounded by nothing but the plastic and aluminum of the wreckage and the mountain’s rock and ice, the survivors soon found themselves starving. They tried eating strips of the leather seats from the plane, but one thing soon became clear: They would need to eat the flesh of their dead friends in order to survive.

In his new book I Had to Survive, Canessa, who was then a second-year medical student, describes the bleak moment:

“I will never forget that first incision nine days after the crash. Four of us … with a razor-blade or shard of glass in his hand, carefully cutting the clothes off a body whose face we could not bear to look at.”

There were only 16 survivors left by the time Canessa and Parrado climbed out of the mountains and got help. Helicopters transported those remaining off the mountain. It was only a matter of days before newspapers began reporting that they had resorted to cannibalism, an act that seems to haunt them to this day.

Andes plane crash survivor Roberto Canessa
Andes plane crash survivor Roberto Canessa

Canessa’s new book, available March 1, centers around how this experience inspired him to become a pediatric cardiologist, believing that every time he has the chance to save a baby’s heart, he is giving back what was given to him when he was rescued.

Read it: I Had to Survive: How a Plane Crash in the Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives

Alternative Scouting: Earn Your Merit Badge in Grave Robbing, Hexes, and Other Horrible Things

Get your badge in grave robbing, cryptozoology, espionage, curses and hexes, home dentistry, cannibalism, mind control, time travel, necromancy and more.
Alternative Scouting merit badges by Luke Drozd

Artist Luke Drozd created these Alternative Scouting merit badges based on a comic strip from his book Threnodies: Odes, Laments and Yarns. This is scouting for all of us weird kids. If you’re here on Cult of Weird right now, you’ve probably earned at least a few of these already:

  • Home Dentistry
  • Curses & Hexes
  • Grave Robbing
  • Violent Revenge
  • Cryptozoology
  • Prank Calls
  • Spirit Medium
  • Mind Control
  • Espionage
  • Money Laundering
  • Cannibalism
  • Arson
  • Mob Justice
  • Time Travel
  • Invisibility
  • Necromancy

Alternative Scouting merit badges Luke Drozd

Alternative Scouting merit badges Luke Drozd

Alternative Scouting merit badges Luke Drozd

Alternative Scouting merit badges Luke Drozd

Alternative Scouting merit badges are available to order now from the artist’s store right here.

Which badges have you already earned?