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Incredible Story of Real-Life Castaway

Photos by Suzanne Chutaro, Marshall Islands Journal

A real-life castaway washed up on a remote Pacific Island after drifting for more than a year.

Fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga departed from Mexico Dec 21, 2012 with 15 year-old fellow fisherman Ezekiel on a one day trip to catch sharks. The motor quit on their 24-foot boat and they began to drift into the Pacific Ocean. Sadly Ezekiel died 4 months later after refusing to eat.

Alvarenga said that for the four days following Ezekiel's death that he considered suicide but didn't have the will to follow through with it. He kept alive by eating birds, turtles, fish and small sharks, armed only with a knife. He caught the sharks by hand by using one arm as bait and then grabbing the tail with the other hand.

The Mexican resident often was forced to drink his own urine when there wasn't rain and said he was never bored and rarely scared, constantly praying to God for strength.

His journey lasted more than 13 months and nearly 13,000 km before he finally washed up on Ebon Atoll clad only in his ragged underwear. He appeared to be in remarkably good health and spirits, but mourned the loss of his teen companion.









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