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Salvador sea survivor flies out of Pacific island

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (AP) - A Salvadoran man who says he drifted in an open boat across the Pacific for more than a year thanked people in the Marshall Islands for taking care of him and said he was "doing very well" before starting his journey home Monday.

Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak bid Jose Salvador Alvarenga farewell at the airport.

"Thank you for the support, the support by your people,"Alvarenga told him in Spanish in a soft voice.

Alvarenga, clean-shaven and walking without assistance, said he was "doing very well."

He told officials during his two-week recuperation at a hospital and a hotel in the capital, Majuro, that he left Mexico in late 2012 with another fisherman, who later died, when a storm threw them off course and he drifted across 6,500 miles (10,500 kilometers) of open ocean. He said he survived on fish, birds and turtles.

About 50 officials, volunteers and reporters gathered at the airport to see him off. He was flying first to Hawaii and then on to El Salvador be reunited with his family.

Alvarenga, accompanied by Diego Dalton, an official from El Salvador's embassy in Tokyo, said that people of the Marshall Islands were "very good" to him, and called them "my very good friends."

Alvarenga's spritely appearance a week ago while greeting hundreds of well-wishers in Majuro had many questioning his story. But he looked much weaker Thursday during a brief public appearance at the hotel, and had to be assisted into the room by two people while others stood by ready to help.

His family in El Salvador has spoken to him by phone since the story broke out. Alvarenga's 14-year-old daughter, Fatima, said last week that she didn't remember ever seeing her father, who left El Salvador when she was just over a year old.

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Keith February 10 2014 at 2:13 PM

If anyone believes this story I'd like to sell you some land in Siberia where it's always warm with palm trees and deep blue seas. Then I'll give you a great deal on a private high rise apartment building in Chernobyl for only 500 rubles!.
The truth will come out eventually.

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1 reply
rudimario Keith February 10 2014 at 2:27 PM

You know Keith.....what with the magnetic fields changing more to the equatorial lines.....I might just take you up on that offer. Maybe, just maybe, Siberia will be tropical again and a very good investment.

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menemshafishmarket February 10 2014 at 4:28 PM

Read book ESSEX. Lost at sea and ate the crew.

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hello Joe February 10 2014 at 2:58 PM

This story is too full of holes to be believable. He wes lost for 13 months and his daughter aged 13 YEARS?

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3 replies
jdollinter February 10 2014 at 3:04 PM

Is this what he's going to tell those nice people in Mexico happened to their drugs or does he have them stashed somewhere or already sold?

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Lazaraescudaro February 10 2014 at 2:57 PM

He had a good haircut and beard .... fish skeletons ?

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Debbie February 10 2014 at 2:56 PM

IDK... looks like he didnt miss too many meals to me..

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markwilke February 10 2014 at 2:47 PM

The current theory on how Australia and the Pacific Islands were settled is that thousands of years ago a man, a pregnant woman and a unrelated female child went coastal fishing and got blown out to sea and landed on a uninhabited lands. Kind of makes this story plausible.

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1 reply
bonnieallmine markwilke February 10 2014 at 2:49 PM

I have never seen that as a theory. Total speculation. Humans have been in Australia between 40 to 50 thousand years, there has never been a land bridge, and nothing in Australian native DNA suggests such a theory. It is likely they were following the birds by canoe or raft. People once had a much better understanding of natural phenomena.

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2 replies
wd4u2 bonnieallmine February 10 2014 at 3:05 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Australia WAS connected to New Guinea and Indonesian Islands like Bali and Sumatra. The ocean was a lot lower 40000 to 50000 years ago! That is why there are the same kind of kangaroos in New Guinea and Australia! Read your science homework from H.S.!

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markwilke bonnieallmine February 10 2014 at 4:48 PM

Here are a couple of excellent books that cover the concepts of long ocean voyages in our distant past.
People have been crossing the oceans both ways, using the currents, for 10's of thousands of years.



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dorc792 February 10 2014 at 2:39 PM

movie will be out in 2015....first man to talk to dolphins ....BUT! what happen to his partner...cannalbulisum ?.....

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Rene February 10 2014 at 1:25 PM

He seems to be just a little too pudgified, but who the hell knows?

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fieea February 10 2014 at 2:32 PM

bull ****

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