Jorge Salvador Alvarenga, 36, told officials he washed ashore in
the Marshall Islands at the end of January and said he survived the ordeal by drinking turtle blood and catching fish and
birds with his bare hands.
"I can't find any words to say," an emotional Alvarenga said on
landing at the airport in the capital, San Salvador, where he was
reunited with family before being taken to a local hospital in a
wheelchair for further tests.
While the exact dates remain unclear, Alvarenga is believed to have
set sail on a shark fishing trip from southern Mexico in late
December 2012, before being blown out to sea, drifting for months
and washing up some 10,000 km (6,200 miles) away in the Marshall
He was found in a disoriented state on a remote coral atoll in his
7.3-meter (22-foot) fiberglass boat.
"Due to his frail health, it's necessary that he receive the
appropriate medical attention," El Salvador's foreign minister,
Jaime Miranda, told reporters at the airport.
Alvarenga, who has been a fisherman for 15 years, previously said he
set sail with another fisherman who died weeks into their ordeal.
[to top of second column]
"We're struck by the extraordinary nature of the case, how long he
spent at sea, and we're surprised that he's alive," said Brenda
Dominguez, 25, who arrived at the airport to say goodbye to her
in-laws in hopes she might see the famous castaway.
In 2006, three Mexican fishermen picked up by a Taiwanese tuna
trawler near the islands said they had spent nearly nine months at
sea after drifting across the Pacific in a flimsy fishing boat.
(Writing by David Alire Garcia; editing by Simon Gardner and Ken
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