A fisherman washed up in the Marshalls to be repatriated soon
The Marshall Islands prepares to repatriate a Latin American fisherman who washed up after being lost at sea for 13 months.
More has been learnt today about the El Salvadorean man who washed up on a remote Marshall Islands atoll last week.
And people are now accepting Jose Salvador Albarengo's account of how he had been lost at sea for the previous 13 months.
He landed on Ebon atoll last week in a seven metre fibreglass boat, with a remarkable account of how he had drifted from the coast of Mexico.
He is now in hospital in Majuro and our correspondent there, Giff Johnson, says more is being found out about the epic voyage.
GIFF JOHNSON: He has been talking to people about his ordeal after he had engine problems and got hit with I guess storm and winds that blew him adrift off the Mexican coast. He started out very near Guatemala, right near the border and he talks about having a companion who was on with him but was unable to eat raw bird meat and other raw meat and ultimately died of starvation, even though he tried to get him to eat it and he said that he was able to survive because he was able to get a lot of turtles coming by the boat. I mean there were a lot of other details about it but he is talking about things that were going on during this long period at sea.
DON WISEMAN: How is he? What's his mental state?
GJ: Well I would say from what we see. Observably he looks in reasonably good health. He was helped off the patrol boat that brought him up from Ebon atoll yesterday (Monday). Had to be helped walking down a gangplank by a nurse as he went into an ambulance, but like last night people were saying that he got very tired, and I would say probably the term frazzled, just headache and even like you talk to him for a few minutes and he just kind of says I have got a headache, just tired, and the hospital folks are trying to block people off a bit from going in because they say there's been so much traffic thate he is not able to rest. Essentially the hospital has been keeping him in to do some tests and also for observation before they clear him for travel because the governments now seem to be engaged in getting organised to repatriate him back to Mexico.
DW: Have we heard from Mexico? I mean has there been contact from his family in Mexico?
GJ: Apparently contact has been made. They have identified family members. I don't know whether he has got family members in Mexico but he does have in the US and El Salvador according to the US Embassy, and contact has been made. My understanding is that some media outfits may have already interviewed some of his family members, I think in El Salvador, confirming that they have just become aware that he is alive.
DW: So there is no longer any doubt that this is a real story, that it is a genuine story?
GJ: Yes that is right. It is essentially confirmed. Some issues to do with the precise date he went out. He is saying December, I have been talking with people in Mexico who say that there are reports of some fishing boats being lost in November of 2012, but that is all ball park stuff. It is all in the neighbourhood. We are talking over a year. So the whole thing about him being a fisherman and so forth seems to be correct. Some people were saying well he looks too healthy [But] what do you say to that. He did wash in here on a boat last week and I think until somebody can look into it more, that's what we have got. He showed Ebon atoll by accident. It is not something that happens - anytime in 50 years, I doubt they have had something like this, so it is quite surprisingly but nevertheless there he is and that's his story.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: