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No foul play seen in death of mummy-looking sailor found off Surigao

In this Feb. 26, 2016, photo provided by Philippine Coast Guard Public Information Office in Manila, a coast guard official inspects a man's remains on a yacht near the shore off Barobo township, Surigao Del Sur province in southeastern Philippines. Philippine police say they're trying to determine the identity and cause of death of a sailor who was found dead while sitting slumped on a table by the radio of a wayward yacht found adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Philippine Coast Guard Public Information Office in Manila via AP

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities have not found visible signs of foul play, like a gunshot or stabbing wound, on the gray decomposing remains of a man resembling a mummy when found in the cabin of a white yacht last week off Surigao del Sur.

Police Chief Inspector Dominador Plaza said police are still trying to determine the identity and cause of death of the man found dead by local fishermen while sitting slumped in a yacht that was drifting in the Pacific Ocean.

"Initially, it looks to us that he died of natural causes, maybe a heart attack," he said by phone. "And death appears to have come suddenly because he was still sitting by the table when he passed away."

Plaza said initial estimates show the man had been dead in the hot enclosed cabin for at least several days, but that authorities were awaiting an autopsy report due this week for a more accurate finding.

The 12-meter (40-foot) -long sailboat's mast was broken, maybe in a storm, police said.

Documents found in the yacht showed that it was apparently owned by a German adventurer identified as Manfred Fritz Bajorat, Plaza said, adding that investigators still have to determine whether he was the dead man.

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Mayor Felixberto Urbiztondo of Surigao del Sur's coastal town of Barobo, where fishermen towed the damaged yacht and the body was brought, said a daughter of Bajorat called to say her family was planning to travel to the Philippines to help investigators confirm whether the man was her father.

If the man was Bajorat, Urbiztondo said the man's family plans to have him cremated before bringing him back home.

The German Embassy in Manila refused to comment and referred questions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin. — Reporting by the Associated Press

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