The mystery of a skeleton inside a wetsuit; decomposed body found floating off coast

Police say dead man may have been a Moroccan migrant who tried to swim across to Spanish shore

Spanish police are still trying to identify a badly decomposed body in a wetsuit and flippers found by a yacht floating some 40 miles off the coast of Calpe, in Alicante province.

Crew aboard the Yaiza notified the Civil Guard after coming across the body on Saturday in the channel between the Balearic island of Ibiza and the mainland. A rucksack was found on the body containing a passport, 540 euros, clothes, and a cellphone, all protected from the water in plastic wrapping.

The Civil Guard says that the body was in a state of advanced decomposition, and had been reduced to little more than a skeleton. There were no signs of the victim having used any kind of breathing equipment. The body was taken to Alicante for further examination to determine the cause of death, although coroners will have little to examine beyond a skeleton.

The passport found in the rucksack was in the name of Abdelaziz Elfayafi, born on January 8, 1989 in Imzouren, a town in the Rif region of northern Morocco. Police say the most likely hypothesis is that the victim had attempted to swim the 14-kilometer Strait of Gibraltar crossing. They say that he may have been caught in a storm, and that in all likelihood, the body sank and was eaten by marine life before the neoprene suit eventually allowed the skeleton to rise to the surface, where the currents would have washed it along the Spanish coastline.

European dream

Thousands of people from the Rif region have left to make a better life in Europe in recent years, most of them passing through Spain en route to France or the Netherlands.

Information about Abdelaziz Elfayafi has already been posted on the internet, saying that after leaving school he studied accountancy and computer studies in 2011. He worked for two companies based in Tangier. But the police say that they have not been able to definitively identify the victim as the same person.

His profile on social networking site Linkedin says: “During my education and professional training I undertook other responsibilities aside from accounting and management. Thanks to my training and social skills I was also tasked with dealing with financial institutions.”

The profile says that Elfayafi speaks Arabic, French, English and Dutch, and lists his interests as traveling, sport, music, and swimming. His CV can be found on several websites, and his last posting is from a month ago.

The Civil Guard says that it has no information about Elfayafi in any of its databases, and that it will be working with the Moroccan authorities to ask them to contact the family.

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