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article imageRacers found, left dead German drifting in yacht: Organisers

By AFP     Mar 9, 2016 in World

Sailors on a round-the-world race found and left a dead German whose body was discovered on a yacht adrift off the southern Philippines, event organisers said.

The LMAX Exchange team saw the yacht about 870 kilometres (470 nautical miles) west of Guam on January 31 and a crew member discovered the decomposing body in the cabin, the Clipper Round the World Race said in a statement.

"In the spirit of the Clipper Race and the crew of team LMAX Exchange, we put the racing aside in the hope of assisting the stricken vessel and any fellow sailors marooned," it said, quoting a statement put out by the team.

Organisers relayed the discovery to the US Coast Guard in Guam before instructing the team to carry on racing as it could provide no further assistance, it added.

The boat then drifted for 25 days across more than 1,200 kilometres of water before Filipino fishermen found the dismasted and listing white-hulled vessel off the east coast of Mindanao island.

Filipino police said the by-then mummified body found slumped over a table in the cabin was likely that of German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat, the presumed owner of the 13-metre (44-foot) yacht.

The partially-capsized boat believed to be owned by German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat  whose mum...
The partially-capsized boat believed to be owned by German national Manfred Fritz Bajorat, whose mummified body was found inside, marooned off the coast of Barobo, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao
, Barobo Police/AFP/File

"(I)t was out of respect that we chose not to publicise the full details of the finding. We hoped to avoid causing unnecessary alarm within the international sailing community by announcing the death of a then unknown sailor," the race organisers said.

The Clipper race announcement, published on its website on Tuesday, appeared to put in doubt a Filipino police autopsy findings the man had died of a heart attack about a week before the fishermen found him.

The US embassy in Manila referred AFP's requests for comment to the US Coast Guard in Hawaii, which did not immediately reply to emailed questions.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP he was unaware of the case having been relayed by the US authorities.

Bajorat was a 59-year-old veteran yachtsman who left his native Germany two decades ago and was then widowed several years ago, Germany's Bild daily earlier reported, quoting an old friend.

Bajorat had told the friend a year ago that he wanted to go on another around-the-world trip, Bild added.

Police in Barobo town, where the yacht was taken, told AFP on Wednesday their superiors were not available to discuss the case.

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