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By Jasmine J. Henry

YAP, Federated States of Micronesia (November 29, 2001 - The Kaselehlie Press)---For the second time in two months, a raft washed up on Yapese shores carrying human skeletons.

The first time occurred last month on one of the Eastern islets of the island of Ulithi in which a raft washed up on shore bearing two skulls.

This time a fiberglass cabin drifted onto Faraulep Atoll’s shore carrying three skeletons. Of the three skeletons, one is believe to be a child as the skull is smaller than the other two and a child’s shoe is still attached to its foot.

The National Police is conducting an investigation to determine whether the deaths were unnatural or natural.

When asked why people on a drifting raft would keep dead bodies on board, Captain Pius Choitulag replied, "We are currently searching the skeletons for holes and fractures to determine if there had been any foul play.

"We have asked the U.S. Embassy and Dr. Mauricio, who was involved with the discovery of the skeleton remains on Pakin, to help us find out the cause of death and the sex of each of the decedents," said Choitalug.

While the origin of the rafts is unknown, Choitulag is certain that the rafts did not originate anywhere in Yap. "The bamboos are too large. The ones that grow on the islands of Yap do not reach that size. Furthermore, there have been no missing persons reports filed on Yap."

When the residents of the traditional Yapese islets discovered the bodies, their chiefs felt that the remains deserved a decent burial and in the case of the two skulls on the Eastern islet of Ulithi, they buried the skulls out of respect.

According to Choitulag, there have been a total of 13 rafts, similar in design, including the latest two, that have drifted into the FSM.

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