Monday, February 03, 2014

From Mexico to Marshall Islands

from w
There's a strange story of survival in today's papers.  From Mexico two men set off to go fishing but the wind took them way off course.  Over a year later the one survivor was washed up in the Marshall Islands, way past Fiji even.

Man washes up on remote Marshall Islands atoll after more than a year adrift in Pacific

Updated 3 hours 16 minutes ago
A man who says he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific drinking turtle blood and catching fish with his bare hands has been transported to the Marshall Islands capital Majuro for treatment.
A male nurse had to help the man down the gangplank of a police patrol boat after a 22-hour trip from the remote coral atoll where he washed shore last week after apparently setting sail from Mexico in late 2012.
About 1,000 curious onlookers crowded the dock for a glimpse of the long-haired fisherman, who smiled and waved briefly before he was whisked away for a medical check-up at Majuro Hospital.
He was found disorientated and clad only in ragged underpants last Thursday, after his 7.3-metre fibreglass boat floated onto a reef at Ebon Atoll, the southernmost cluster of coral islands in the Marshalls.
Marshall Islands Foreign Affairs acting secretary Gee Bing said the the man, who identified himself as Jose Salvador Albarengo, 37, told interpreters he set sail from Mexico to El Salvador on a shark fishing expedition in late 2012.
Mr Bing said Mr Albarengo says he was accompanied by a Mexican man who died at sea.
"Well according to him he said he was on a fishing trip with another guy and somehow the north wind blew them and they got lost," Mr Bing told Pacific Beat
Mr Bing said Mr Albarengo spent five days onshore before locals noticed him.
"I think he landed in one of the islands and I guess after that the people over there found him and reported it".
Mr Bing said Mr Albarengo had been put on drip and treated for dehydration and joint pain but is otherwise in a stable condition.
"When he arrived today his vital signs were ok after the nurse checked him out," Mr Bing said.
He said Mr Albarengo said he had been living in Mexico for 15 years but was originally from El Savador.
Mr Bing said Mr Albarengo had been fingerprinted to verify his identity with the government working to communicate with Mexican and El Salvodor authorities on repatriation.
He said Mr Albarengo had not been quizzed on his survival as yet and has been unable to remember his family's contact numbers.
"We will be talking (further) with him after doctor has done check ups," Mr Bing said.
Marshall Islands Journal editor Giff Johnson, says there are no details at this stage of how his fishing expedition ran into trouble.
"They (locals) said when he came off he was just in a ragged pair of underwear, a long beard; the boat looked like it had been in the water for a long time," Mr Johnson told Pacific Beat.
"Whatever the back story is on this, it appears that this guy's been out on the water for an awful long time."
Ebon locals have been struggling to communicate Mr Albarengo, who only speaks Spanish.
He had been able to communicate to locals he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish which he caught with his bare hands.
He also communicated he drank turtle blood when there was no rain.
Mr Johnson says they have been providing him with food and clothing while a government boat was sent from Majuro.
"The people on the island said he looked to be malnourished," he said.
"They just started feeding him water and food, and said he was doing better, but still needed help moving around."
There are few islands in the more than 12,500 kilometres of Pacific Ocean between southern Mexico and Marshall Islands.

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