Castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga describes his ordeal

  • 10 years ago
Castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who claims he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, says in an interview that he was unable to stand when he reached the remote Pacific island, Ebon Atoll

A fisherman from El Salvador who washed ashore on the Marshall Islands has claimed he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, drinking turtle blood and catching fish and birds with his bare hands.

On Thursday an emaciated Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 37, dressed in ragged clothes and in disoriented state was found on the Ebon Atoll, where he had washed up in his 24ft fibreglass boat.

Though various details remain sketchy, Mr Alvarenga claims he spent over a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, exposed to the elements in his tiny boat surviving on turtle blood and dead birds.

He speaks no English and no one among the 700 islanders on Ebon Atoll spoke Spanish but using drawings and gestures he managed to explain to officials he set sail on a shark fishing trip late in December 2012 from Mexico, 6,200 miles away, but was blown out to sea.

Alvarenga, who told authorities has been a fisherman for 15 years, set sail with another fisherman, aged 15 to 18, but the teenager died a month into their ordeal.

He used pictures to indicate that he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish that he caught with his hands, and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

Authorities said they were still gathering information and planned to contact his family in El Salvador and the US.

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