37-year-old Jose Salvador Alvarenga landed his badly damaged boat in a remote area of the Marshall Islands on January 30 with a story of having been lost at sea since December 2012, and having survived by eating birds, turtles, fish, and small sharks, and drinking rain water -- and occasionally -- his own urine.
Doctors who examined Alvarenga initially found him to be in relatively good health except for swelling in his legs. He was admitted and released from a hospital within 24 hours earlier in the week. On Thursday, Alvarenga was readmitted to a hospital when his health deteriorated, with doctors reporting he was severely dehydrated, low on vitamins, and his legs still swollen. It seems the castaway's health improved Friday, as he was released from the hospital and is now staying at a hotel in the capital city of Majuro.
At the time of his disappearance, Alvarenga, who is a native of El Salvador, worked for a Mexican company and has expressed a desire to be repatriated to Mexico. Because Mexico has no diplomatic presence in the Marshall Islands, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed embassy personnel posted to the Philippines to travel to Majuro "to learn directly about the case." On Wednesday, Deputy Chief of Mission Christian Clay Mendoza from the Mexican Embassy in Manila arrived in Majuro to address Alvarenga's repatriation request.
On December 21, 2012, Alvarenga said he and a 15-year-old fisherman named Ezekiel set off for a one-day fishing trip when the motor on their 24-foot boat stopped working. They then drifted into the Pacific Ocean. Ezekiel died four months later. Alvarenga said he survived off of birds, turtles, fish, and small sharks. He said he drank rain water and occasionally drank his own urine to quench his thirst.