Jose Salvador Alvarenga pictured upon his arrival at
Efforts are underway to confirm the identity (and story) of a mystery castaway who washed up last week on a Marshall Islands atoll after allegedly surviving more than 13 months adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 24-foot fiberglass boat.
The man, who has identified himself as 37 year old Jose Salvador Alvarenga from El Salvador, says that him and teenage boy set off from the Mexican city of Tapachula on a one day fishing trip on December 21, 2012, but they lost power and were swept out to sea by strong winds and currents.
Alvarenga told the British Telegraph that he survived by drinking turtle blood and catching and eating fish, birds and sharks that he caught by hand. The boy, who refused to eat, died four months into the ordeal, the Telegraph report says.
Alvarenga and his badly beaten boat washed up last Thursday on the small Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where he was discovered by a person conducting research on the island. He was later brought to Marshall Islands capital of Majur and was admitted to a hospital in relatively good condition.
The man claims to originally be from El Salvador, but he says he had been living in Mexico for 15 years. Efforts to repatriate the man are in the works, according to reports.
In the video below, Alvarenga tells the Telegraph about when he first reached the island:
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