Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Americas

Man 'lost at sea' for a year returns home to El Salvador

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-12

A fisherman who says he was lost at sea for more than a year has arrived home to El Salvador to a frenzy of media attention and a public eager to hear the details of his incredible story.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga allegedly crossed 6,500 miles (10,500 kilometres) of the Pacific from Mexico to the Marshall Islands in a small boat, surviving on raw fish, turtles and bird blood.

As he was unloaded from an ambulance late on Tuesday, he answered a question shouted from the crowd: How do you feel? “Happy to have arrived,” he said.

But when handed the microphone at the San Salvador airport, Alvarenga could only cover his face with his hands.

Wearing a dark blue T-shirt, khaki trousers and white tennis shoes, the 37-year-old left the airport in a wheelchair and was taken by ambulance to the National Hospital San Rafael.

Alvarenga’s story stunned the world when he washed up on the Ebon atoll almost two weeks ago, appearing robust and barely sunburned after more than a year at sea. But he had started out a much larger man, and doctors found that he was swollen and in pain from the ordeal, suffering from dehydration.

Alvarenga said he had been working in a fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s southern Chiapas state. A man with his nickname, “Cirilo”, had been registered as missing with civil defense officials there who said a small fishing boat carrying two men – the other named Ezequiel Cordoba – disappeared during bad weather on November 17, 2012, and no trace of them or the craft was ever found despite a two-week search.

Cordoba died after about a month when he couldn’t eat the raw fish and turtles, Alvarenga has said.

Homecoming

Photos from the Marshall Islands published by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper showed that the boat Alvarenga purportedly arrived in bore the hand-lettered name of the Chiapas fishing cooperative, Camaroneros de la Costa, for which Alvarenga said he worked in Costa Azul, near Tonala.

The photos also showed a large plastic cooler that Alvarenga purportedly used to shelter himself from the sun and sea.

The castaway’s father, Jose Ricardo Orellana, who owns a store and flour mill in the seaside Salvadoran town, has said his son first went to sea at age 14. “The sea was his thing,” Orellana, 65, said last week after learning Alvarenga’s story.

His mother, Maria Julia Alvarenga, 59, said her son always had unusual strength and resilience.

His 14-year-old daughter, Fatima, made an archway of palms for the front door of the family home in the fishing village of Garita Palmera and hung a sign proclaiming “Welcome”. But she does not remember ever seeing her father, who left El Salvador to fish in Mexico when she was just over a year old.

“The story of Jose is one of faith, but also of a fight to live,” the foreign minister said Tuesday night. “A story of solidarity and reunions.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

 

Date created : 2014-02-12

COMMENT(S)