18-year-old survives 28 days adrift

 

An 18-year-old who worked in a seaside hotel in Panama happily took up an offer by two friends to join them on a fishing trip and earn some extra cash.

Twenty-eight days later, Adrian Vasquez was found drifting alone in the 10ft fishing boat. He was in the waters off Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where the trio had set out to fish.

His two friends had died, and he owed his survival to a sudden rainstorm, the Ecuadorean coastguard captain who helped nurse him back to health said.

Mr Vasquez was flown to Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean mainland to be turned over to the Panamanian consul.

Captain Hugo Espinosa's patrol boat picked up Mr Vasquez early on Sunday from commercial fishermen who had stumbled across the Panamanian drifting in the Pacific on Friday.

The captain said the young Panamanian recounted his story after recovering over the weekend from malnutrition and severe dehydration:

He and his friends were returning to Rio Hato, Panama, where he worked at the Decameron Hotel, on February 24 aboard the Fifty Cents boat when its motor failed.

In the first few days, as Panama's coastguard began to search for the young men, the trio grilled fish on the boat. But then their ice melted and the fish rotted. They had to toss them overboard and live off what they could catch with their net.

“The spirits of the survivors began to wane with the passing of days,” Capt Espinosa said.

Oropeces Betancourt, the oldest at 24, stopped eating and drinking after two weeks, and died on March 10. Three days later, his body began to decompose and Mr Vasquez threw it over the side.

The other youth, 16-year-old Fernando Osorio, died on March 15, also apparently of dehydration, sunburn and heatstroke. After three days, Mr Vasquez pushed his other friend's body into the ocean.

Mr Vasquez then ran out of water and the days were all sunny.

“When he was nearly dead, on March 19, it rained, and Vasquez was able to fill up with four gallons of water,” said Capt Espinosa.

He spent the next five days eating raw fish, before he was spotted by commercial fisherman working on a skiff from a mother ship, the Duarte V.

Once aboard, Mr Vasquez asked for a telephone so he could make two calls. The first was to his mother, and the second to the hotel manager to explain why he had missed so many days of work.

AP

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments