Salvador castaway vows will not return to sea
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[February 28, 2014]
By Nelson Renteria
SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - A fisherman from
El Salvador who says he spent 13 months adrift in the Pacific Ocean,
surviving on turtle blood and fish and birds caught with his bare hands,
vowed he would not venture back out to sea as he left hospital on
Jorge Salvador Alvarenga, 37, was found in January on a remote
coral atoll in the Marshall Islands, saying he had survived at sea
for more than a year.
"No. For the moment no," Alvarenga said, telling reporters he will
not return to the sea as he left the hospital with family members,
stopping to raise his hand in a victory sign.
He later told a news conference he spoke to God every day, and never
lost faith that he would survive. Another fisherman who had set out
with Alvarenga died weeks into the ordeal.
Asked if he had eaten his companion, he said: "No. He died."
"He died ... of hunger and thirst. He didn't eat," he added.
Alvarenga was barely able to speak when he arrived back in El
Salvador a week ago and he still struggled to answer questions from
journalists on Tuesday.
El Salvador's health minister, Maria Isabel Rodriguez, escorted the
fisherman from the hospital and said he would not need surgery for a
spinal injury. She said Alvarenga was so shaken by the ordeal that
he may not return to his coastal home.
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"I don't know if it was decided that he'll be taken to another
house, because of the problem he had of fear of the sea," Rodriguez
Alvarenga, a fisherman for 15 years, told officials he set sail on a
shark-fishing trip from Mexico in late December 2012, but was blown
out to sea. He washed up some 10,000 km (6,200 miles) away in the
He was found in a disoriented state on a remote coral atoll in his
7.3-meter (22-foot) fiberglass boat.
(Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Michael O'Boyle, Simon
Gardner, Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)
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