Food for thought

José Salvador Alvarenga, from El Salvador, survived more than a year adrift in a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean.

On 30 January 2014 he drifted onto a small island called Tile Islet, part of Ebon Atoll, where he was found naked, holding a knife, and shouting in Spanish. He claimed to have survived by catching and eating fish, turtles, birds, and even jellyfish.

Sharing the boat with him was Ezequiel Córdoba, 22; Alvarenga was 36 or 37 – he has always been vague about his age – at the time.

Many have cast doubts on whether it is possible to survive so long, but in April 2014, Alvarenga’s lawyer told a press conference that Alvarenga had passed a lie detector test while being asked about his voyage.

Alvarenga has always maintained that Córdoba gave up hope, stopped eating, and died after about four months into 13 month voyage. He says that after six days of living with the corpse he threw it over the side of the boat.

Now Córdoba’s family are suing Alvarenga for $1 million; they claim that he committed cannibalism, an accusation that he denies.


Picture source: Flickr