A Real Life Castaway? The Story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga’s Survival


Tom Hanks - A Real Life Castaway? The Story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga's Survival

Remember the Tom Hanks classic Castaway? Well, apparently this type of thing can actually happen in real life. A man by the name of Jose Salvador Alvarenga was found last Thursday after going missing 13 months ago. Alvarenga, an El Salvadorian citizen who resided in Mexico for 15 years prior to his disappearance, left home on December 21, 2012 for “a one-day expedition to catch sharks […] [with]a teenage companion.” A storm caused the two of them to go off-course, killing the boat’s engines. Sadly, the teen boy died from starvation after four weeks adrift. According to Alvarenga, the boy “refused to eat raw birds.”

Alvarenga was able to survive the 13 months of floating the Pacific by eating raw fish, birds, and turtles. He also drank “rainwater, and sometimes his own urine.” Alvarenga considered suicide after the boy’s death, and relied on his faith in God to get through the harrowing ordeal.

A Real Life Castaway? The Story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga's Survival

Currently, Alvarenga is recuperating in a hospital in the Marshall Islands, where he was discovered by two native women. Family members who live in El Salvador are thrilled to learn that Alvarenga is alive, and hopefully he is able to reunite with his 12-year-old daughter soon.

The truth of this story is currently under review, and there is still more to learn from Alvarenga as he begins to recover. In the meantime, here is a link from CNN to an article describing seven tips for surviving at sea.

You know, just in case anything like this should ever happen to you.


Photos via: Google and Reuters


About Author

Eva Meierhoff

Eva Meierhoff is a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a B.A. in English. Eva is a fan of the TV show Survivor and says it is one of her dreams to be on the show. She also loves to travel and hopes to one day go island-hopping in Croatia and snowboarding in Austria. One of Eva’s favorite pastimes is reading, and her favorite books include Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Misery, The Kite Runner, and The Other Boleyn Girl. She is currently living in Duluth, where she enjoys camping, playing tennis, snowboarding, and volunteering at the local animal shelter.

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