A castaway claims he spent 16 months adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Jose Ivan and his heavily damaged boat were discovered by two Marshall Islands locals on Thursday. Although the man’s “condition is not very good,” he is expected to survive.
Ivan said he and a companion left Mexico In September 2012. The two men planned to travel to El Salvador. However, they got off course and became hopelessly lost. Although he was emaciated and incredibly weak, Ivan explained that he and his friend survived by eating birds, fish, and turtles.
As there were no fishing supplies aboard the boat, the men were forced to catch the animals with their bare hands. Ivan said he and his friend tried to stay hydrated by drinking rain water. When they ran out of fresh water they drank turtle blood.
Jose Ivan said his companion passed away several months into their harrowing journey. Although his story is quite unusual and difficult to believe, witnesses said his appearance and the condition of his boat suggest he is telling the truth.
The total distance from the coast of Mexico to the Marshall Islands is nearly 8,000 miles.
Norwegian researcher Ola Fjeldstad was working on the Marshall Islands when the castaway was found. Fjeldstad said Ivan’s 22-foot fiberglass boat is heavily damaged and appears to have “been in the water for a long time.” The man was malnourished and his hair and beard were rugged and long. Fjeldstad said Ivan was “dressed only in a pair of ragged underpants.”
As reported by The National, Ivan was taken to the main island for treatment and care. He is currently staying at a local council house where he was given a preliminary medical exam. With the exception of low blood pressure, he seems to be recovering from his unexpected journey.
Fjeldstad said Ivan is “getting better” and is able to walk without assistance. A local family is providing food and water, which are helping him regain his strength. As the island is remote, he will likely remain in the Marshall Islands for at least a week.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Majuro is expected to arrange his transport and a more extensive medical exam. The ministry will investigate the details of his journey and the identity of his companion.
Although Jose Ivan certainly has some interesting stories about his adventure, language barriers have made communication difficult. Fjeldstad, who understands and speaks Spanish, is acting as an interpreter for the castaway.
[Image via Flickr]