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16 months adrift, man finds land

Jan. 31: Shipwrecked man washes up on Pacific atoll “after spending 16 months adrift, floating over 12,874kmfrom Mexico”.

An emaciated man survived 16 months adrift at sea, eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood, having floated from Mexico to a remote Pacific atoll, it was claimed today.

A Norwegian researcher said that the man — who only speaks Spanish and has a long beard and hair — was not in a good condition after his 24-foot fibreglass boat washed up on the reef at Ebon Atoll.

In a story reminiscent of the Tom Hanks film Cast Away, the man, dressed only in ragged underpants, apparently set off from Mexico heading for El Salvador in September 2012 with a companion, who died at sea several months ago.

“His condition isn’t good, but he's getting better,” Ola Fjeldstad, a Norwegian anthropology student doing research on Ebon, told AFP by telephone.

Details of his survival are sketchy, Fjeldstad added, as the man only speaks Spanish, but he said his name was Jose Ivan.

“The boat is really scratched up and looks like it has been in the water for a long time,” said the researcher. “He has a long beard and hair.”

Ivan indicated to Fjeldstad that he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

No fishing gear was on the boat and Ivan suggested he caught turtles and birds with his bare hands. There was a turtle on the boat when it landed at Ebon.

Stories of survival in the vast Pacific are not uncommon.

In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting in the middle of the ocean in their stricken boat, nine months after setting out on a shark-fishing expedition.

And in 1992, two fishermen from Kiribati were at sea for 177 days before coming ashore in Samoa.

Ebon Atoll, a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean that is part of the Marshall Islands — located about 1000km to the north east of the Solomon Islands.

 
 
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