Backstory — early this week a commercial fishing boat pulled a body up in its nets about 20 miles east of Cape Cod, called the Coast Guard, and brought the body ashore for identification. Identification was performed and yesterday the district attorney said the corpse was one of two Bay Staters buried at sea in recent years, and this body was one of them (buried in 2001).
Images of a canvas-wrapped corpse, with a ballast stone at its feet, sliding off a plank and from beneath a flag, down to Davy Jones’ Locker …
Chilling if you think about it. Me? I hope to be cremated and scattered on the sea myself (I have my own elaborate ritual planned involving a bluefish blitz), but slip me over the side to become crab food? The creepiest part — especially for the poor fishermen clearing the net, was this:
“The corpse was in good condition, according to Walsh, with skin and face still intact. The only thing missing was a foot, he said. â€œI cannot believe it was in the water for six years,â€ Walsh said.
“Oâ€™Keefe said the circumstances of the burial were such that it is â€œvery understandableâ€ that the body would be in good shape. He declined to disclose any more about the circumstances of the burial out of respect for the familyâ€™s privacy. “
I feel for the family. Having one’s loved one exhumed in such a way has to be very difficult. One would assume a burial at sea is a very final act. Now they have to do it again.
Here’s the Navy FAQ on burial at sea.