A man who washed up in rags on a Pacific island says he has spent 13 months adrift in the ocean
A castaway claims to have spent more than a year lost at sea in the Pacific Ocean after he was found by islanders last Thursday.
Jose Salvador Alvarengo says he left Mexico with a companion in December 2012 on a 24ft fibreglass fishing boat and washed up on the remote Marshall Islands last week.
The man, who was wearing only tattered underpants, allegedly survived his ordeal by catching fish, birds and turtles with his bare hands, while his friend died at sea several months ago.
Norwegian anthropology student Ola Fjeldstad, who was part of the group that discovered Mr Alvarengo, told the BBC: “When we got there we first found his boat which 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.”
Mr Alvarengo told the local deputy US ambassador Norman Barth that he is originally from El Salvador but had been living in Mexico for more than a decade.
US ambassador Thomas Ambruster told the BBC: “I understand that Mexican authorities have been contacted at the Mexican embassy in Manila and so one of those officials is on his way, or her way, to interview him, because the boat came from Mexico and I believe there was a Mexican national on board who unfortunately perished at sea.”
Authorities are still obtaining information about Mr Alvarengo, who only speaks Spanish, and overseas officials are due to be contacted regarding his repatriation.