Castaway Claims To Have Been At Sea For 13 Months

A man alleges he survived on fish, turtles, and drinking his own urine.

1. A man who says he set out for a one-day fishing trip washed ashore in the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean last week.

GIFF JOHNSON/AFP / Getty Images

2. (Here’s where the Marshall Islands are.)

3. He identified himself as José Salvador Alvarenga, 37, claiming he and a companion set sail from Mexico for a one-day shark-fishing excursion in December 2012.


After the motor on their 24-foot boat expired, they floated near land for several days before they drifted toward the ocean, Alvarenga told the Telegraph, though other outlets are reporting a storm blew him off course.

An El Salvador native, Alvarenga said he has been a fisherman in Mexico for 15 years.

4. Armed with only a knife, he sustained himself on turtles, birds, and sharks. When rainwater was scarce, he’d drink his own urine.

HILARY HOSIA/AFP / Getty Images

Despite his harrowing journey, Alvarenga appeared to be in good health. His 15-year-old companion Ezekial allegedly perished after one to four months, according to conflicting reports. Alvarenga claims he wanted to take his own life after his death but couldn’t bring himself to do it.

He was taken to a hospital in the capital Majura as authorities worked to verify the details of his story.

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