Sailor who had to bury wife at sea is rescued

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Police in Australia are waiting today to interview a British yachtsman who buried his wife at sea after a holiday adventure turned into a disaster on the Indian Ocean.

Ashok Baljoresai is on board a Russian cargo vessel which rescued him after a violent storm crippled the yacht he and Pamela Thompson, 65, his wife of just two months, intended to sail from Singapore to Mauritius.

Speaking by satellite from the Russian ship which is due to dock in Fremantle, Mr Baljoresai, 54, said that he tried to keep his wife alive for two weeks but she became so weak she could neither eat nor drink. "She just ebbed away before me," he said. "Itried everything to save her, but it wasn't enough. She just couldn't keep any food down and she was vomiting all the time. I don't know what was wrong with her".

The couple, from Ilford, Essex, had both worked as hospital laboratory assistants and had known each other since Mr Baljoresai came to Britain from Mauritius in 1967. They were married two months before they set sail in November.

They had not been at sea for many days before a storm broke the yacht's mast, polluted the fresh water tanks with sea water and damaged the engine, he said. The trip should have taken a month but he could not call for help on the radio because the batteries failed.

Mr Baljoresai said he used parts of the ship as firewood to boil sea water for his wife. He believed she had something wrong with her stomach.

"I don't think it was the water, I think there was something wrong internally. I had to bury her at sea. She just seemed to give in."

He put the body over the side and conducted her funeral, he said.

"All I could do was say a simple prayer and goodbye to the woman who had been my wife for a matter of weeks. It was a simple ceremony, but I was left with no choice".

Pamela Thomson died on 12 January but Mr Baljoresai was only picked up by the Anatoly Vasaliev last week, 900 miles south-east of Mauritius.

Captain Petrov Kubilius, master of the Anatoly Vasaliev, said that Mr Baljoresai was "quite sick and very stressed" when he was rescued, but was now in a satisfactory condition.