Skip to main content

If a body is placed in water containing a large amount of bacteria, such as that from sewage effluent, decomposition is accelerated. A body in water generally decomposes more slowly because of colder temperatures and lack of oxygen. Because the body has a greater specific gravity than water, it sinks initially. Prolonged submersion in water causes a wrinkling effect around the skin of the hands and feet. The body orients itself in a head-down position that sometimes results in scraping of the forehead when it comes into contact with the rough sea floor. After a period of 3 to 4 days in warmer water and about a week in cold, the body will surface owing to the formation of gas. Sometimes the skin and tissues burst and the body sinks again to the bottom. The process may repeat itself and the body floats to the surface again.

Fig.1 Death by drowning at sea and skin peeling.

Bodies that are found in the sea will often be decomposed and injured by the action of waves against obstructions or by marine predators, and blood may be washed out of the wounds. These changes may complicate the evaluation of cases. In deep waters such as ocean and sea, many small fish species feed on corpses.

Latest posts

Man dead after playing with a .40 caliber handgun

| Accident, Gunshot | No Comments
27-year-old man was playing with a .40 caliber handgun and accidentally shot himself in the head. No further…
Fig.1 Maxillary fractures caused by shotgun blast.

Maxillary fractures caused by shotgun blast

| Gunshot, Suicide | No Comments
Spain. Maxillary fractures caused by shotgun blast suicide with entrance via the oral cavity. No further info. In…
Fig.1 Wasps drinking "death nectar" on a scavenged human limb.

Wasps drinking “death nectar” on a scavenged human limb

| Animal Scavenging, Decomposition | No Comments
Various insects may take advantage of the nutritional factors a decomposing body has to offer whether through natural…
Fig.1 Detruncation after a fall from a height in rough terrain.

Detruncation after a fall from a height in rough terrain

| Accident | No Comments
This individual fell from a height in rough terrain, and the body was cut in half from the…