Monday, 17 March 2014

Tears As Castaway Meets Dead Mate's Mum

The Salvadoran fisherman who says he drifted at sea for more than a year has had an emotional meeting with the family of his shipmate who died during the ordeal.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga travelled to Mexico on Friday to meet the parents and siblings of 24-year-old Ezequiel Cordova.

Surrounded by journalists, the castaway wept as he embraced his shipmate's mother, Roselia Diaz Cueto.

She told him: "I would've liked to have welcomed my son like this".

Choking back the tears, Mr Alvarenga replied: "It fills with happiness to be with my friend's mother."

Salvadorean castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga (L) embraces Roselia Diaz (R), mother of dead castaway Ezequiel Cordoba Mr Alvarenga told Roselia Diaz Cueto her son "gave me strength"

Ms Cueto says her son was the second child she has lost at sea.

Mr Alvarenga washed ashore in the Marshall Islands in January, claiming to have spent 13 months adrift in a small fishing boat.

The 37-year-old says he set off on a fishing trip from Mexico's Pacific coast in late 2012 before becoming lost and drifting some 8,000 miles (12,900 km).

Jose Salvador Alvarenga Mr Alvarenga stunned the world after drifting ashore earlier this year

He says his shipmate died some four months into the ordeal, not being able to stomach their diet of urine, turtle blood, raw fish and bird flesh.

The castaway said the pair had made a pact that if one survived they would meet the other's family.

After the meeting on Saturday Mr Alvarenga said: "This gives me some peace, because in my dreams, he asked me to speak with his mother."

Roselia Diaz, mother of dead castaway Ezequiel Cordoba, shows his portrait during Salvadorean castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga's visit to El Fortin, Chiapas state, Mexico Ms Cueto says her son was the second child she has lost at sea

He later held a private meeting with the family to recount the painful memories of his friend's last days at sea.

He said the pair suffered from hunger and would often pray to God.

The family live in the small fishing village of El Fortin, where Mr Cordova's mother said her son learnt to be a fisherman at the age of eight.

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