A man miraculously survived at sea for 14 months.
Jose Salvador went shark fishing off the coast of Mexico, disappeared in December of 2012, and was lost at sea for 14 months until he was found on the Marshall islands 8,800 miles away from Hawaii. Salvador left Mexico in late 2012, when he was starting his work day of hunting sharks with his young companion as help. Suddenly, he was swept out to sea and forced to survive for a year.
He ate the raw fish and turtles he caught, and he drank rainwater, and when necessary, his own urine. His companion did not survive as he refused to eat raw fish or turtles. After surviving this way for more than a year, Salvador landed on the Marshall islands and was spotted by locals. He was rushed to the hospital despite his apparent good health to receive treatment for several vitamin deficiencies, and dehydration.
Salvador says that he thought about suicide “but I couldn’t do that,” saying he “prayed instead. I believed that God would protect me.“
Many have asked how he kept his sanity through the ordeal and he states that, “When you need to eat, when you need to drink, you keep your mind alive. And you pray. I prayed to God all the time. I prayed to stay alive.”
Although some speculate about the veracity of Salvador’s story, most are inclined to believe him. Mexico has confirmed him as an undocumented worker, as well as being a missing person for a little over a year.
The survivor’s apparent “chubbiness” causes the most doubt because it is improbable for someone who has been starving for 14 months. But doctors state that is not “chubbiness” but that his body is bloated due to his unusual diet while at sea.
An oceanographer states that, “there was a good chance a boat drifting off Mexico’s west coast would eventually be carried by currents to the Marshall Islands.”
Original Drawing by Sara Seaman ’16