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
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

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
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam