Czech lead a false alarm in Piano Man mystery
London - Hospital care workers trying to identify a mysterious mute pianist found wandering on an English beach in April said it was back to the drawing board on Wednesday after a Czech lead appeared to be a false alarm.
"Basically that leaves us with one crossed off our list and we continue with the work we are doing, to look through all the possible names we have been given and so on," said a spokesperson for the West Kent National Health Services and Social Care Trust.
Hopes of a breakthrough in the quest to identify the so-called "piano man" rose last week after a Czech drummer identified him as Thomas Strnad, a classical musician with whom he once played in a rock band.
But on Tuesday, Strnad appeared on three Czech television stations to deny the claim.
The hospital trust spokesperson said that he had yet to receive official confirmation that the lead was a dead end, but acknowledged that it now looked very unlikely and plans to bring in a Czech interpreter to speak to the piano man had been put on hold.
Instead, officials caring for him at Little Brook Hospital in Dartford, Kent, continued to sift through between 200 and 250 possible identities for the tall blonde-haired stranger, thought to be in his 20s or early 30s, the spokesperson said.
The mystery man was found on April 7 on the beach at Minster, on the south coast of England, dressed in a soaking wet black suit, with no clue as to his origin.
He has not spoken since and has not responded to written appeals while being kept under observation.
But he has fascinated social workers, the British media and the general public over his one means of communication: playing classical piano music.
When given a pencil and paper by hospital staff, the mystery man drew a grand piano - and then, when shown a piano at the hospital chapel, he impressed his carers with a remarkable virtuoso performance.
The hospital trust spokesperson said the man, who is being held in a secure ward for patients with mental health problems, had yet to utter a word but continued to play the piano.
"He has played it, does play it, it is up to him when he plays," he said.
The identification process may drag on for a few more days, even weeks, during which time the piano virtuoso looked set to remain in hospital. - Sapa-AFPAgencias:
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