Castaway alive after 13 months at sea

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4th Feb 2014
Written by: Will Jones

Castaway survives 13 months at sea

Mexican fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga who went missing from his home country in late 2012 has been found 6,000 miles away on a remote Pacific island.

Mr Alvarenga claims he survived by eating turtles, seagulls and fish, and by drinking rainwater, turtle blood and on occasion his own urine. His fellow fisherman, known only as Ezequiel, was not so lucky, reputedly dying about a month into the 13-month voyage because he couldn’t digest the raw meat diet.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Alvarenga claims he and his companion left the fishing village of Costa Azul on the Mexican coast in December 2012 and fell into bad weather, which carried their boat out to sea, where its engine then broke.

Many have raised eyebrows at Alvarenga’s account, including Gee Bing, the acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, who said: “It does sound like an incredible story, and I’m not sure if I believe it. He was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts.”

However, as outrageous as Alvarenga’s story sounds, it is beginning to add up. For example, Mexican search and rescue have confirmed that a boat manned by two fisherman from Costa Azul was reported missing in December 2012, and that the weather was very bad. Also, local fisherman in Costa Azul have confirmed they knew Alvarenga, but that he was lost at sea 13 months ago.

Alvarenga washed up on Ebon Atoll and was discovered by Norwegian anthropology student Ola Fjeldstad, who told the BBC: “A group of us got into a boat and went over to meet him. His boat was grown over with shells and other sea animals. It had a live baby bird, a dead turtle, some turtle shells and fish leftovers inside. He was in really bad shape in terms of strength and mental health.”

According to MailOnline, after native islanders offered Alvarenga coconuts, he mustered the strength to refrain, instead requesting: “Tortilla! Tortilla!”

Well, you can take the man out of Mexico…


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