Jose Salvador Alvarenga – the fisherman who shocked the world by surviving 14 months at sea is being sued for $1 million by the family of his dead fishing partner. He is being accused of eating their relative to ensure his own survival.
Alvarenga is the only man known to have survived for over a year at sea. He left El Salvador to fish for tuna and shark in Mexico when he was swept out to sea in a storm in November 2012. According to Alvarenga, his fishing mate, Ezequiel Cordoba, 24, died of hunger and thirst within several weeks.
On January 30, 2014, he came ashore on the remote island of Ebon Atoll where he was discovered by fishermen. His story created headlines – and questions, with many amazed that he had not lost more weight after eating only uncooked fish and birds they caught with their hands.
“I believe that this demand is part of the pressure from this family to divide the proceeds of royalties,” said Ricardo Cucalon, Alavarenga’s attorney. He told the El Salvadoran newspaper, El Diario de Hoy, that Mr Alvarenga has always denied eating Cordoba.
In an article on The Guardian, Franklin writes, “After two months at sea, Alvarenga had become accustomed to capturing and eating birds and turtles, while Córdoba had begun a physical and mental decline. They were on the same boat but headed on different paths. Córdoba had been sick after eating raw seabirds and made a drastic decision: he began to refuse all food. He gripped a plastic water bottle in both hands but was losing the energy, and motivation, to put it up to his mouth. Alvarenga offered tiny chunks of bird meat, occasionally a bite of turtle. Córdoba clenched his mouth. Depression was shutting his body down.”