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  1. #1
    Lord of Swine
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    Mexican Survivor Lost at Sea for 14 Months

    Jose Salvador Albarengo's survival tale is the stuff of a Hollywood script.

    Adrift and alone on the ocean for more than a year, the 37-year-old castaway says he survived by eating turtles, birds and sharks that he caught with his bare hands during an incredible voyage from Mexico to a remote coral atoll in the Marshall Islands.

    He didn't have a fishing rod to catch marine life during the 12,500-kilometre journey, he told rescuers. He would catch small sharks by dangling one arm into the water and using it as bait. As a shark closed in, he would grab its tail and haul it onto his 7.3-metre fibreglass boat, he said.




    His story, recounted after he washed ashore clad only in ragged underpants on Thursday last week, sounds almost too incredible to be true.

    And at least one official in the Marshall Islands wants to verify Albarengo's account before he swallows the survival tale, hook, line and sinker.

    For one thing, Albarengo appeared to be too well fed, said Gee Bing, the acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands who met with Albarengo on Monday.

    Tracking of what happens to rubbish, such as plastics, tossed or washed into the seas suggests a drifting boat from Mexico could have made its way to the Marshall Islands

    "It does sound like an incredible story and I'm not sure if I believe his story," said Mr Bing.

    "When we saw him, he was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts. Once we start communicating with where he's from, we'll be able to find out more information."

    US ambassador Thomas Armbruster, who was acting as an interpreter for Marshall Islands authorities, also has some doubts about the story.

    Mr Armbruster said the fisherman told him that he was originally from El Salvador but had been living in Mexico for 15 years before his epic voyage.

    "He said he is a shrimp and shark fisherman," Mr Armbruster said. "He looked better than one would expect."

    About 1000 curious onlookers crowded around the dock at the Marshall Islands capital Majuro on Monday 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.

    Sporting a bushy beard and clutching a can of Coke, he was helped down the gangplank of a police patrol boat after a 22-hour trip from Ebon Atoll, the southernmost cluster of coral islands in the Marshalls where he washed ashore after apparently setting sail from Mexico on December 24, 2012.

    Erik van Sebille, an ocean circulation expert at the University of NSW, has an answer to doubts that the castaway's amazing tale of survival is true: “garbage”.

    Tracking of what happens to rubbish, such as plastics, tossed or washed into the seas suggests a drifting boat from Mexico could have made its way to the Marshall Islands.
    “I think his story is correct” at least as far as the science of ocean currents goes, said Dr van Sebille.

    “It would take about one to two years, approximately” to drift all the way across the Pacific, he said.

    As it was, the castaway was lucky to make landfall because his next and final stop would probably have been the giant floating garbage patch in the north Pacific between Hawaii and California.

    “If he would have not had the fortune to hit a beach, then he probably would have ended up in the garbage patch,” the research fellow at UNSW's Climate Change Research Centre said.

    “His boat would have ended up floating around there for hundreds of years.”

    The garbage patch is probably about the size of Western Australia and growing each year as ocean circulation draws ever more rubbish into the giant soup.

    Foreign ministry officials said Albarengo told them during a debriefing that he was a 37-year-old whose full name was Jose Salvador Albarengo.

    He said he lived in Tapachula, near the Mexican border with Guatemala, and worked for a company named Camoronera Dela Costa.

    Albarengo said he was on a shark-fishing expedition with a youth named Xiquel when strong winds blew them off course and they became lost in December 2012.

    Albarengo said the boy, described as 15- to 18-years old, died a few weeks into the ordeal because he could not eat raw bird meat.

    The surviving fisherman was found disorientated and clad only in ragged underpants last Thursday, after his 7.3-metre fibreglass boat floated onto a reef.

    Unable to speak English, he communicated to his rescuers through pictures and gestures that he had survived the 12,500 kilometre odyssey by eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

    Albarengo told The Telegraph in London that he had no idea where the Marshall Islands were.

    He said his first words on spotting land were: "Oh, God."

    “I had just killed a bird to eat and saw some trees,” he said.

    “I cried, 'Oh God'. I got to land and had a mountain of sleep. In the morning I woke up and heard a rooster and saw chickens and saw a small house. I saw two native women screaming and yelling. I didn't have any clothes – I was only in my underwear and they were ripped and torn."

    Mr Bing said the man had no identification with him and other details of his story remained sketchy, including the exact location of his departure from Mexico.

    The man's health appeared to be good, but his blood pressure was a bit low, Mr Bing said.

    Jack Niedenthal, a film-maker based on Majuro, told Reuters that Albarengo "got off the boat with a very bushy beard".

    "He's having trouble walking, his legs are very skinny. I'm not ready to call this a hoax, I think this guy has done some serious time at sea," he said.

    Medics plan to give Albarengo a thorough check before he is interviewed by detectives.

    He spoke briefly to a Spanish interpreter via a faltering radio link over the weekend while still at Ebon Atoll and said he was keen to return home.

    "I feel bad," he said of his physical and mental state. "I am so far away. I don't know where I am or what happened."

    Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon.

    In 2006 three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fibreglass boat near the Marshall Islands, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition.

    They survived on a diet of rainwater, raw fish and seabirds, with their hopes kept alive by reading the Bible.

    Castaways from Kiribati, to the south, frequently find land in the Marshall Islands after ordeals of weeks or months at sea in small boats.




    Read more: Jose Salvador Albarengo: a tale of ocean survival that smells a bit fishy

  2. #2
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    Smug Farang Bore's Avatar
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    They are saying its B S now.

  3. #3
    Lord of Swine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smug Farang Bore View Post
    They are saying its B S now.

    He looks pretty chubby, I recon he ate the bloke that was with him.

  4. #4
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    Be interesting to hear the story whatever it is. Not April 1st is it?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    The garbage patch is probably about the size of Western Australia and growing each year as ocean circulation draws ever more rubbish into the giant soup.
    This is the real story here...

  6. #6
    Lord of Swine
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    The garbage patch is probably about the size of Western Australia and growing each year as ocean circulation draws ever more rubbish into the giant soup.
    This is the real story here...

    it should be, but no one seems to care.
    A yachty sailed through it last year and wrote a story, said the ocean is basically dead and he needed to have his hull refinished afterwards.

  7. #7
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    It's going to span the whole Pacific in no time.

  8. #8
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    Life of Pi remake, anyone?

  9. #9
    Lord of Swine
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    Castaway from Mexico: 'We can't wait to throw him a party', say fishermen friends

    In the Chiapas village of Costa Azul, Jose Salvador Alvarenga's fellow fishermen say they thought he was dead and believe it's a 'miracle' he survived



    Fishermen Jose Cisneros and Bellarmino Rodriguez Solis


    In a tiny Mexican coastal village the fisherman had long been given up for dead. Lost at sea more than a year ago, in terrible conditions that claimed the lives of four others, there was no hope of his return.

    So it was with a mixture of astonishment and jubilation that the boatmen of Costa Azul, a picturesque hamlet in the southern Chiapas region, received news that one of their number had apparently turned up 8,000 miles away in the Marshall Islands.

    Jose Salvador Alvarenga's astonishing tale of survival in a 24ft fibreglass vessel has met with disbelief in some quarters. Doctors expressed surprise at his relative good health. His tale of surviving on fish, sharks, turtles and the blood of birds caught by hand seemed too fantastic to some.

    But in Costa Azul there were tears as fishermen saw on television the image of the man they called "La Chancha," an affectionate name for someone of large girth.

    "It's him. he worked for me for a year and I've known him for 10 years," said Bellarmino Rodriguez Solis, 64, who claimed to own the boat Mr Alvarenga was in.

    When The Daily Telegraph showed him a photograph of the boat, beached in the Marshall islands, he cried: "It's my boat, it's my boat. I know the number on the side."



    Through tears, he added: "Don't you believe in miracles? It's a miracle. When we saw it on TV all the fishermen were shouting and jumping up and down. We couldn't believe it was La Chancha. I hope he comes back here. We're desperate to see him and throw a big party. We will kill a cow and we will drink beer and tequila and eat fish."

    Mr Solis could not produce any paperwork to show that he owned the boat. But standing next to a small jetty, where they said Mr Alvarenga set off from, a series of fishermen described the day hey said he was lost. They said four people were presumed to have died in two other boats that were never heard from again amid high winds and towering waves.

    They did not agree on the date of the disappearance. Mr Solis gave it as November 17, 2012 but several other fishermen said December 17, 2012. None of them had paperwork to verify the date.

    Fisherman Jose Alfredo Diaz Hill, 25, said he was out in the storm with Mr Alvarenga and was the last person to see him before he was lost.

    He said: "I passed by his boat at 2.30pm and he said he would radio me at 4pm but he never called. Later, I heard he never came back. Everyone thought he was dead. You can't come back from that storm, it's impossible. It was very difficult for the rest of us to get back. We thanked God that we were alive."

    Hector Arebalo Castellonos, 22, said: "He said on the radio he had lost all his equipment. He sounded desperate. He sounded like he was crying but there was nothing we could do. We couldn't get back out again for three days because of high winds and high waves.

    "After that we searched for five days, and for a month if we saw a light we would go out to see if anyone was there."

    Jorge Cisneros, 51, said: "There was no chance of finding them. The waves were eight to 10 metres high. It's a dangerous business. You know you're going out to fish but you never know if you're going to come back. If we had gone out there to find him we would have all been dead."

    Mr Solis said: "I spoke to him on the radio at midday the day after he went out. He said 'The boat's broken'. He had some co-ordinates but he wasn't sure how far out he was. I told him 'We are sending people for you'. He was really brave. He had hope we could find him. He was swearing."

    Castaway from Mexico: 'We can't wait to throw him a party', say fishermen friends - Telegraph


    "We will kill a cow and we will drink beer and tequila and eat fish." - Sounds like a fun place.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99 View Post
    we will drink beer and tequila and eat fish."
    Um...I think he might want to skip the fish, after all that time.

  11. #11
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    Perhaps he'd rather a nice fresh dead body. There is speculation that he ate his co fisherman.

  12. #12
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    Lord Lucan next ...

  13. #13
    I am in Jail
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    8000 miles ain't shit. I do that all the time. In fact it's all I want to do. I eat Fritos mostly.

  14. #14
    Lord of Swine
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    Castaway reveals he could have been saved months earlier

    A FISHERMAN who says he drifted at sea for more than a year, surviving on raw fish, turtles and bird blood, is in stunningly good health but psychologically fragile, medical experts said on Wednesday as he recuperated in a hospital in his native El Salvador.
    Jose Salvador Alvarenga told doctors he came close to giving up hope of being rescued after several large ships came near his small fishing boat but none tried to rescue him, even though sailors on at least one even waved at him.
    “They passed close by, he asked them for help and they didn’t want to provide it,” said El Salvador’s minister of public health, Maria Isabel Rodriguez. “There was one that almost destroyed his little boat because it came so close, but nobody helped him.”
    Although he was close to despair, “his desire to live was greater, he thought of his family and said that he wanted to live,” Rodriguez said.



    Alvarenga underwent a battery of tests after returning home from the Marshall Islands, where he showed up after what he has described as 10,500-kilometre journey from Mexico across the Pacific that began when his small fishing boat was thrown off course by bad weather.
    The medical team that examined him at the San Rafael hospital in the Salvadoran capital said he was in remarkably good physical health, with no skin lesions from overexposure to the sun and no cardiovascular or kidney issues. His only physical problem, doctors said, was a case of anaemia.


    more........

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