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'Scuba skeleton' sparks Morocco ID mystery

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Police have speculated that the mystery victim may have perished while trying to swim from Morocco to Gibraltar. Photo: Jose Luis Roca/AFP
17:40 CEST+02:00
The discovery of a wetsuit-clad skeleton floating in the sea near Alicante, Spain, with flippers, phone, waterproofed clothes, a Moroccan passport and a wad of cash has triggered speculation as to the victim's identity, origin and cause of death.

The crew of the yacht Yaiza found the "skeletonized body" adrift in the Ibiza canal, a stretch of sea which separates Alicante on mainland Spain with the island of Ibiza, according to Spanish national daily El País on Tuesday.

A Civil Guard vessel sailed to collect the body and take it for a forensic autopsy at the Alicante Institute of Legal Medicine.

Investigators at the Civil Guard headquarters are now busily attempting to trace the victim's identity through the items found with the body.

Clues include a black-and-grey wetsuit, flippers, and a backpack bearing the logo 'Keep Moving".

Inside the backpack, were a mobile phone, clothes in perfectly waterproofed packaging, a passport, and a bundle of cash worth €540 ($700).

Despite the scuba-type apparel, no oxygen bottles were found.

Currents and sea creatures are believed to be responsible for stripping the body of flesh, of which "not an ounce" remained.

The passport was issued to a Moroccan man, Abdelaziz Elfayafi, born January 8, 1989 in Imzouren.

Imzouren is a city of 100,000 residents in the Rif region of northern Morocco, near Al Hoceima, from where thousands have emigrated in recent years to seek a better life abroad.

It has not been confirmed that the body belongs to Elfayafi, but police sources suggested that the victim may have been an immigrant attempting to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain.

The body could have been swept by currents up Spain's east coast to the location where it was discovered.

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Elfayi's profile on professional networking site LinkedIn shows that he held an Accountancy and Information Management degree.

His curriculum, posted on a number of internet sites, indicated that he spoke Arabic, French, English and Dutch.

His online data was last updated a month ago.

Civil Guard sources indicated that as no record of Elfayi exists in the Spanish database they would be continuing their enquiries with the cooperation of Moroccan authorities.

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