Lost at sea for 13 months

by MEGAN ROMANCZUK Section Editor

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a 37-year-old fisherman who was lost at sea since December 2012, was just recently found by two women on the Marshall Islands on February 2, 2014.

Alvarenga and his partner began their expedition in southern Mexico, where they were last seen. He planned a one-day shark fishing trip; however, it turned into a 13-month adventure.

While traveling to their destined location, Ezequiel Cordoba and Alvarenga faced a powerful storm that lead to their engine dying.

For months, friends and family thought the pair died since government search teams failed to find the pair.

Throughout the long expedition, they were forced to live off of turtle blood, raw flesh of sea birds, fish, and rain water, as well as drinking their own urine.

“If I was in his shoes, I think I would have gone crazy without having service or internet connection, as well as having to live off of turtle blood or urine,” says senior Annmarie Rapisardi

A person can survive with no water for four days and about six weeks without food. Shade is important as well because you tend to sweat more in high temperatures, which can lead to dehydration.

However, the harsh living conditions did effect his partner, who passed away a few months into the journey due to starvation.

Alvarenga thought about committing suicide several times until he found the strength to believe that he would make it home alive.

The only equipment he had was a knife since his fishing gear was lost in the storm that first got him into the mess.

Along his trip, he did spot other boats and tried to get their attention, but none of them gave him the time of day. He also endured a two-day storm that flooded his boat with water.

“It takes a lot for a person to find strength in themselves to survive in such rough conditions. The fact that he was able to find materials to keep him satisfied for the whole year is absolutely mind blowing,” says senior Alexa Kutz.

After a press conference, Alvarenga was admitted to the hospital on Thursday due to severe dehydration, malnutrition, pain in the kidneys, and swollen legs.

The doctor noticed that the texture in Alvarenga’s skin was at first leathery, then it transformed into red and tender, which could be a result from post traumatic stress disorder.

Due to his weak health, he is not able to return to El Salvador until he is cleared by the doctor again.

Officials have no reason to doubt his story because others have survived before.

For instance, in 2006 three Mexican fisherman lasted nine months surviving off of fish and rainwater. Furthermore, four men in 1989 survived four months while lost at sea.

If his story proves true, he would have traveled 6,700 miles to be found in that specific location.

Do you think you could survive being lost at sea for 13 months with no connection to society?

#JoseSalvadorAlvarenga #LostAtSea #meganromanczuk

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