Marshall Islands Castaway

Pacific Castaway Passed Lie Detector Test, Lawyer Says

The castaway who claims he spent more than a year lost at sea, drifting some 6,000 miles from Mexico to a remote Pacific atoll, passed lie detector tests when questioned about his experience, his lawyer said at a news conference in El Salvador Friday, according to Reuters.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 37, a fisherman from El Salvador, was found in January on a remote coral atoll in the Marshall Islands.

"At the end of the series of evaluations, it has been determined that the arguments put forward by Mr. Jose Salvador Alvarenga regarding the events that took place from the moment of his disappearance up until the moment of his discovery have been verified and are completely in line with reality," said lawyer to Alvarenga, Danilo Barrera, according to Reuters.

Image: Jose Salvador Alvarenga wears fresh clothes in the first photo taken of him, the day after he went ashore in the Marshall Islands.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga wears fresh clothes given to him by local Ebon residents. This was the first photo of him after his ordeal at sea, taken the day after he went ashore in the Marshall Islands. Ione deBrum

Alvarenga vanished on a a fishing trip off the coast of Mexico in late 2012.

"The engine didn't work anymore and this was what had kept me drifting. After that day I had to throw all my fish and everything that was in my boat overboard because a storm came in and that's when we got lost," Alvarenga said Friday, according to Reuters.

The Salvadoran caught the world's attention after he was rescued, saying he had lived on raw fish, sea creatures and his own urine as he drifted on the Pacific.

"Occasionally, the turtles are very tame. I was lying down and thinking about things and then a turtle would hit my boat and attach itself to it and start chewing at my boat," Alvarenga recounted, according to Reuters. "And since turtles are tame I would pick them up and put them in my boat, this is how I quenched my thirst, from their blood, and it did me good as it was a sort of water and I normally ate the turtle's meat."

Medics declared the former fisherman to be sane, Reuters reported, but he has been diagnosed with a phobia of the sea.

— Becky Bratu