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A surfer has revealed the horrifying moment he spotted a woman’s decomposed body drifting at sea the day before she washed on to a popular Sydney beach. 

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city’s east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body.

But surfer Max Vemeer has revealed his terrifying encounter with the remains in the water while surfing nearby about 12 hours earlier, around 5pm on Tuesday. 

‘I went in and there was another guy out and we thought we saw a body nearby,’ he said.

‘It was hard to see, but the hair looked dark. It looked like a woman, and pieces of the skin looked like they were… gone,’ Mr Vemeer added, pointing to his arms. 

‘It was pretty shocking. It wasn’t nice to see. It was face down so I could see the back. It was weird. It was naked so we thought it must be a dummy.

Surfer Max Verneer has relived the horrifying moment he unknowingly found himself alongside the rotting remains of a woman's decomposed body drifting in the sea off a popular Sydney beach

Surfer Max Verneer has relived the horrifying moment he unknowingly found himself alongside the rotting remains of a woman's decomposed body drifting in the sea off a popular Sydney beach

Surfer Max Verneer has relived the horrifying moment he unknowingly found himself alongside the rotting remains of a woman’s decomposed body drifting in the sea off a popular Sydney beach

A woman's decomposed body has been found washed up on a popular Sydney beach

A woman's decomposed body has been found washed up on a popular Sydney beach

A woman’s decomposed body has been found washed up on a popular Sydney beach

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city's east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city's east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city’s east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body 

‘We weren’t 100 per cent sure, so we didn’t call it in. But it was floating towards the beach so we thought whatever it was would eventually wash ashore.’

Mr Vemeer arrived at Bronte around 9am on Wednesday for a morning surf and realised what he had witnessed the day before when he saw the police crime scene.

Police confirmed the death was not being treated as suspicious and it is now understood the tragedy was a self-harm incident.

Another surfer said the dark and stormy conditions had prevented them from confirming exactly what the object was. 

‘We saw what we thought was a body, but no one wanted to get close to it [to check],’ he said.

‘It was really close. We were like surfing with it. Its head was down, so all you could see was what looked like someone’s butt. It was really weird.’ 

Officers at the scene covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van

Officers at the scene covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van

 Officers at the scene covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van

The one glaring problem with frenzied ‘Melissa Caddick’ speculation 

Social media has erupted with speculation the body could be that of missing financial advisor Melissa Caddick, 49, who vanished 18 months ago amid a police probe into her company.

But the theories have been dispelled by a leading forensic expert. 

Professor Johan Duflou, former clinical director of NSW’s Department of Forensic Medicine, said there’s little chance a body that’s been in the ocean for over a year would be intact.

‘I think it would be highly unlikely there would be anything at all remaining after nearly 18 months in the ocean,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘That’s because of animal predation and the effects of water on the body, along with decomposition.’

Police have also said the body appears to be of a woman around half the age of Ms Caddick, with the victim estimated to be in her 20s to 30s. 

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The surfers had assumed it just a shop dummy until the news broke of the body’s discovery on Wednesday morning.

‘We thought it was a mannequin or a dead animal or something,’ added the surfer. 

‘We were going to tell the lifeguards, but when we came back to shore they were all gone.

‘We thought about calling police, but given it was late and dark, we thought there was no way they would be able to find it.’

Another bystander, Hamish, added: ‘It’s pretty shocking. [As a local] you’d like to know what happened.’ 

Officers at the scene on Wednesday covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van.

Before police said the death was an unrelated suicide, the discovery fuelled a wave of speculation that it could be the corpse of missing conwoman Melissa Caddick who vanished 18 months ago – which was swiftly dismissed by police and a leading forensics expert. 

Police said the corpse appeared to have been in the water for a lengthy period of time. But they believe the remains are likely to be of a woman aged in her 20s or 30s, while Caddick was 49.  

Professor Johan Duflou, former clinical director of NSW’s Department of Forensic Medicine, said it would be ‘highly unlikely there would be anything at all remaining after nearly 18 months in the ocean’.   

Officers have launched an investigation with the area cordoned off and declared a crime scene earlier this morning. 

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern part of Bronte Beach closed to the public, but reopened at a later date. 

Officers have launched an investigation with the area cordoned off and declared a crime scene

Officers have launched an investigation with the area cordoned off and declared a crime scene

Officers have launched an investigation with the area cordoned off and declared a crime scene

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern end of Bronte Beach closed to the public

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern end of Bronte Beach closed to the public

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern end of Bronte Beach closed to the public 

Officers are scouring missing person’s records to determine the woman’s identity.   

Social media lit up with messages about the discovery on Wednesday morning.

‘Does anyone know what has happened at Bronte Beach this morn?’ one user posted on the local Facebook group Bronte Loop.

‘There is a Police Rescue tent on the beach and the promenade and beach are cordoned off (with police there).’

Another replied: ‘Dead Body found in Bronte!!! Terrifying!!’

Officers later took down the police tent and confirmed the case is not being treated as suspicious.

Source: DailyMail AU

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