Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Missing Sailor Feared Eaten By Cannibals
A 40-year old German sailor, named Stefan Ramin, has gone missing in French Polynesia, and is believed to have been eaten by cannibals. Ramin and his girlfriend Heike Dorsch, have been sailing around the world over the past three years, and stopped on the island of Nuku Hiva, where they planned to spends some time off the ocean.
A few weeks back, Ramin went for a hike on the island with a local goat hunter by the name of Henri Haiti. Later in the day, Haiti returned alone and told Dorsch that there had been an accident and that her boyfriend needed help. When Dorsh attempted to call the police for assistance however, Haiti tied her to a tree and sexually assaulted her, before disappearing into the jungle.
Later, Dorsh was able to free herself and alert authorities, who immediately began searching the area for signs of Ramin. Last Saturday, after a week of searching, they believe they discovered his remains in the ashes left over from a fire, where they found a human jawbone and teeth that are believed to have belonged to the German man.
According to the story linked to above, Nuku Hiva was the setting of two novels by Herman Melville and has had a history of cannibalism in the past. That said, there have been no reported cases in more than a century, and the island's 2000 residents are said to be baffled by what happened to the missing sailor. The one man who can actually tell the whole story, Henri Haiti, is still missing as well.
This is certainly a strange story to say the least. I know that there are a lot of remote places on the planet, some with indigenous people who live much the same way as they have done for centuries. But it has been a long time since I've heard anything about cannibals. While it certainly is still a possibility I suppose, but I think it's probably more likely that something happened between Haiti and Ramin, and Haiti tried to cover it up by burning his remains. After all, its pretty evident that Haiti isn't the most respectable of men to begin with.
Ramin and Dorsch were planning on sailing to New Zealand in a few weeks time, where they were also planning on ending their three-year voyage. Sad that it had to finish like this.
Thanks to Outside magazine for sharing this story.