Society

Fisherman Drifts Onto Shore After 13 Months Stranded at Sea

| by Dominic Kelly

A man who allegedly survived 13 months stranded at sea is coming out to share his amazing story of survival with the world.

José Salvador Alvarenga says he and a teenage companion set out on a fishing trip in December of 2012, but shortly after setting sail, they were blown off course by a powerful storm.

"I only knew the sun and the night. I never saw land. Pure ocean, pure ocean. It was very placid – only two days with big waves," said Alvarenga.

The teen that was with him, believed to have been between 15 and 18, died about a month after the two initially became stranded in the ocean. According to reports, the teen refused to eat, so he quickly starved to death. This sent Alvarenga into a deep depression, and at one point, the man seriously contemplated suicide.

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"For four days I wanted to kill myself,” said Alvarenga. “But I couldn't feel the desire – I didn't want to feel the pain. I couldn't do it. I had my mind on God. If I was going to die, I would be with God. So I wasn't scared. I imagine this is an incredible story for people."

It is certainly an incredible story, too incredible to be believed, according to skeptics. After 13 months at sea, Alvarenga reportedly drifted onto the shore of the Ebon Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. By the time he made it to shore, Alvarenga had drifted from than 5,000 miles through the ocean, and he survived by drinking turtle blood, eating seabirds and fish, and even drinking his own urine. Despite his details claims, however, people still have trouble believing that this could have happened.

"It's hard for me to imagine someone surviving 13 months at sea," said US ambassador Tom Armbruster. "But it's also hard to imagine how someone might arrive on Ebon out of the blue. Certainly this guy has had an ordeal, and has been at sea for some time."

Gee Bing, secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, is even more skeptical and says that they will investigate the man’s claims.

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

Despite some skepticism, Alvarenga’s story has gone viral as people try to comprehend how someone could survive the way this man did.