Castaway being sued for cannibalism

Ryan Solano, Feature

After spending 438 days lost at sea, a Salvadoran fisherman is being sued for supposed cannibalism.

37 year old Jose Salvador Alvarenga, the world’s longest surviving castaway, is facing allegations from the Córdoba family that he ate their son, Ezequiel, to survive. The Córdoba’s are seeking $1 million dollars according to El Diario de Hoy.

In November of 2012, both men, Alvarenga and Córdoba, embarked on a two-day fishing trip with tragic results. The two men found trouble in a severe storm that set them off course and off the radar. 6,700 miles away and over one year later, Alvarenga washed up in the Marshall Islands, alone.

When asked how he survived, Alvarenga told an incredible story of living off raw fish, turtle blood, and even his own urine. After some disbelief, proper officials claimed that his story checked out.

But still, the Córdoba family is not satisfied. They insist there was no way Alvarenga could of survived without eating their son.

Alvarenga is appalled by this accusation. He has explained many times that he did not and would never have eaten Ezequiel, no matter the situation. In the book, “438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea,” Alvarenga’s complete story is drawn out by the author, Jonathan Franklin. An excerpt in the book explains just how hungry the couple were. But while Alvarenga was able to stomach things like fingernails and raw fish, Córdoba was not so lucky. Córdoba could not handle the awkward diet and died only after a few months. But in Córdoba’s final moments, Alvarenga made a promise with him. He promised that he would not consume Córdoba’s corpse and that he would locate Córdoba’s mother to tell her what had happened.

Alvarenga kept his promise. He met with Córdoba’s mother in May of 2014. One month later, he was being targeted as a cannibal by Ezequiel’s family and friends.

According to Alvarenga, Córdoba’s death was not easy. He claimed that when Córdoba died, his eyes were left open. Not being able to handle losing his only companion, Alvarenga continued to conversate with the dead corpse for almost six days. When he was finally able to cope, Alvarenga gave him the best funeral he could. Alvarenga says, “First I washed his feet. His clothes were useful, so I stripped off a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. I put that on — it was red, with little skull-and-crossbones — and then I dumped him in. And as I slid him into the water, I fainted.”

Of course since there were no other witnesses, it is hard to determine what exactly happened on that fishing boat. There is a chance that the family may be seeking the profit from the recently released book. The world may never know.

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