So do we believe him? Well, the Mexican government has confirmed he is an El Salvador national living in Tonala, Mexico. And the locals that found him said his boat was covered in barnacles and filled with turtle carcasses, so that goes in his favour.
What doesn’t go in his favour is that he looks pretty well fed which isn’t what you would expect. But then maybe he was really, really fat when he left? He’s also fairly incoherent, but then I wouldn’t expect him to be dazzlingly erudite after an ordeal of that magnitude.
The castaway came ashore at Ebon Atoll, a small cluster of coral reefs on the southern tip of the Marshall Islands (half way between Hawaii and Australia) on Thursday last week. The island only totals 3.5km in land area so he was pretty lucky to hit it. There’s one phone, no internet and a disused runway, that’s about it. He’s now been moved to the Marshall Island’s capital Majuro to get treated for his ailments. He looks pretty perky doesn’t he?:
An interpreter who was present at Alvarengo’s first interview said “He is hungry, swollen, in pain, extremely loopy and wants a haircut.”
I guess the truth about what really happened will slowly unfold. My prediction is that whatever went down, it was pretty bonkers. There’s no talk of what he did with the boy’s body either, so who knows, maybe we’ve got a cannibal on our hands? My money’s on Tom Hanks to play him in the inevitable blockbuster movie.
Jose Ivan Alvarengo we salute you.
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