Castaway Asks to Return to Mexico

A Pacific castaway, who claims he spent over one year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, asked to returned home after he washed ashore. He was found after washing ashore in the Marshall Islands.

Jose Salvador Albarengo said he wanted to return to Mexico after he was taken to Majuro the capital of the Marshall Islands to go through a medical exam.

Albarengo said, in December of 2012, he left his home in Mexico accompanied by a friend in a fiberglass boat. He was located last Thursday by people who lived on Ebon Atoll of the Marshall Islands.

He initially told authorities his name was Jose Ivan. The man told the local deputy ambassador from the U.S. Norman Barth, who acted as an interpreter for authorities in the Marshall Islands, that he was born in El Salvador, but had been in Mexico for the past 15 years.

Thomas Ambruster the U.S. Ambassador said it was his understanding that authorities in Mexico were contacted in the Philippines at their embassy and an official was in route to the Marshall Island to interview the man. The boat was originally from Mexico and a Mexican national apparently perished at sea therefore the official is needed.

Albarengo was emaciated and had just a pair of ragged underpants on when found on his boat after it floated onto one of the reefs off the coast of the small Atoll.

He apparently was able to survive a journey of 5,000 miles through catching birds, fish and some turtles using only his hands. He told authorities his companion had died a number of months ago at sea.

There have been no details emerge as to how the 24-foot boat encountered problems or how his friend had died.

A Norwegian student studying anthropology on the Atoll said the castaway was discovered after a group of people boarded a boat and went to look at his boat on the reef.

The castaway, said the Norwegian, was in very bad shape regarding his mental health and his strength.

Albarengo who is only able to speak Spanish was communicating with the mayor of Ebon Atoll by drawing pictures said a local news report.

Three fishermen from Mexican were rescued in August of 2006 off the Marshall Island after they said they had been drifting across the Ocean for nearly nine months.

They told officials they survived on fish, seabirds and rainwater.

 

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