WARNING: This article contains imagery some readers may find disturbing and strong language
Footage shows an unnamed sailor boarding Manfred Fritz Bajorat’s yacht. Photo / LMAX / Clipper Race / YouTube
Unseen footage shows the moment a sailor in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race discovered the mummified body of a man on a stricken ship.
German sailor Manfred Fritz Bajorat was found by the LMAX Exchange crew east of the Philippines on board a Sayo yacht on January 31.
Stumbling upon the boat while racing between Australia and Vietnam, one man swam out and boarded the craft – making the grim discovery once he put his head inside the cabin.
The crew notified the US Coast Guard in Guam and the Falmouth Coastguard of the discovery and the location of the drifting boat, more than 400 miles (644km) from land, and were instructed to carry on racing as they were of no assistance.
Skipper of the LMAX crew Olivier Cardin said: “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.
“After boarding the drifting vessel, we unfortunately discovered the body of a lone sailor. We remained on site, under instruction, until released by the USCG who continued with the recovery.
“As a team we found comfort that he was found and that peace will be given to his friends and family who have been looking for him. Our words and thoughts were shared for the sailor as he now rests in peace.”
The mummified body of Manfred Fritz Bajorat. Photo / Supplied
Clipper Race director Justin Taylor also notified the German Embassy in London, which informed the German police, who were then able to trace the sailor’s next of kin via the boat registration details provided by the team.
The news of the man’s death was made public when the deceased sailor was re-discovered by Filipino fishermen at the end of February.
Manfred Fritz Bajorat: He hadn’t seen for over a year. Photo / Supplied
A spokeswoman for the Clipper Race said “out of respect” they chose not to publicise what the crew had found after they had stopped racing – hoping to “avoid causing unnecessary alarm within the international sailing community”.
“As a company we also felt it was inappropriate to create a news story out of such tragic circumstances, plus the experience was quite distressing for the crew member who went aboard, who does not wish to talk publicly about it,” the spokeswoman added.
“We feel desperately saddened for Mr Bajorat’s family, who have now been subjected to the publication of graphic images. Our thoughts remain as ever with them.”