El Salvador castaway fisherman washes up after year adrift in Pacific

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El Salvador castaway fisherman washes up after year adrift in Pacific

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A fisherman who claims to have been lost after a storm at sea for more than a year has been giving more details about his experience.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who is 37 and thought to be from El Salvador, washed ashore last week on the remote Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

Having set off from Mexico in December 2012, he says he survived for 14 months by drinking turtle blood and catching fish and birds with his bare hands.

He was found some 10,000 kilometres away in a disorientated state in his 7.3-metre fibreglass boat.

While some doubt his account of what happened, his family are hailing his return as a miracle.

His sister Yanira Bonilla said: “My mother would always say ‘daughter, he is not dead’ and then I would say to her ‘mami, don’t get your hopes up’. And then she told me ‘no, but I feel that he is alive’. Now I can see and prove that a mother is never wrong.”

José‘s brother, Carlos Albarenga said: “It had a big impact. I was left speechless. I am very happy and very grateful to God and to the people who rescued my brother. I don’t have enough words or gestures to thank them enough for everything they are doing for him.”

According to authorities, Alvarenga set sail with a younger fisherman but the teenager died a month into their ordeal.

“It was supposed to be a one-day shark expedition, but they were blown off course by the northern winds,” Thomas Armbruster, the US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, told the media.