Castaway Lost For 14 Months Reveals Harrowing Survival Ordeal


Salvador Alvarenga went fishing off the coast of Mexico in November 2012, and was presumed dead after a storm washed him and a friend out to sea. 438 days later in January 2014, he was found alone after drifting through the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking to the Guardian and in an upcoming book, 36-year-old Alvarenga has detailed how he and crew mate Ezequiel Cordoba, 22, struggled for survival aboard their damaged vessel.

NBC News

Sadly, Cordoba died around four months into the ordeal, when he fell ill from eating a raw seabird. The two didn’t know each other before the trip, with Cordoba standing in at the last minute for another man who had pulled out. He was paid just 50 dollars for the trip.

While Alvarnega became adept at catching fish and birds with his bare hands, Cordoba, in his illness began to refuse food and told his friend: “I am dying, I am dying, I am almost gone.” He died shortly after, slumped over in the boat.


In his desperation and loneliness, Alvarnega talked to the body for six days: “How do you feel? How was your sleep?” he would say before answering his own questions “I slept good, and you? Have you had breakfast?”

Eventually, after accepting the tragedy, Salvador took the clothes off Ezequiel and slipped his body into the sea. “Why had he died and not me? I had invited him to fish. I blamed myself for his death.”


Salvador Alvarenga eventually washed up on the southern tip of the Marshall Islands where he was found by Emi Libokmeto and her husband Russel Laikidrik, 8,000 miles from where he vanished.