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Mexican castaway washes up in Marshall Islands after 16 months at sea

Jose traveled over 8,000 miles until he finally landed at Ebon Atoll.
Jose traveled over 8,000 miles until he finally landed at Ebon Atoll.

An emaciated Jose Ivan washed up Ebon Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, in a battered 24-foot fiberglass boat, claiming to have been adrift in the Pacific for 16 months after floating approximately 8,000 miles from Mexico. He also stated that he had been on his way to El Salvador when he became lost back in September 12.

Strangely, Ivan is not the first Mexican to land there. In fact three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fiberglass boat near the Marshall Islands in 2006, nine months after setting sail on a shark hunting expedition.

There was no fishing equipment on Ivan’s boat, and he told a Norwegian anthropology student Ola Fjeldstad doing research on the atoll that he had survived by catching turtles and sea birds with his bare hands and drinking their blood since there was no rain.

"His condition isn't good, but he's getting better," stated Fjeldstad, who told the AFP by phone that the man had long hair and a beard and was “dressed only in a pair of ragged underpants,” when found by a couple of locals. He also said that a companion from Mexico had died during the arduous voyage some months earlier.
Jose Ivan is currently staying at the local council house until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Majuro can send a plane to pick him up from the remote island.

In the meantime, Fjeldstad reported that Ivan is being fed by a local family, who has been giving him plenty of water, and added that despite his ordeal, the castaway was in fairly good health, considering everything he has been through, and has no “life-threatening illness, although his blood pressure is low.”

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