Castaway lost at sea for 16 months says: 'I just want to go home'

The Mexican man can't remember what happened

A Mexican man who was found washed up on a Pacific atoll after spending more than a year at sea has said he just wants to go home.

The emaciated man, who said his name is Jose Ivan, was rescued on Thursday when his 24-foot fibreglass boat with propellerless engines washed up on to the reef at Ebon Atoll, after floating more than 12,500 kilometres (8,000 miles) from Mexico.

The castaway managed to communicate his desperate desire to return to his home country, AFP reported. “I just want to get back to Mexico,” he told interpreter Magui Vaca as he was boarding a Marshall Islands patrol vessel, which transported him to the capital Majuro for a medical examination.

"I feel bad," he said. "I am so far away. I don't know where I am or what happened."

Ivan, who was clad only in a pair of ragged underpants when he was found, told Vaca he left his home in Mexico to go shark fishing on 24 December, 2012, meaning he spent 13 months, at sea, rather than the 16 months his rescuers initially believed.

"It's been difficult trying to communicate with him," said Ebon Mayor Ione deBrum.

"I've gotten to know him through pictures he's drawing. He said he was on his way to El Salvador by boat when it started drifting."

The remaining details remain sketchy, particularly regarding the fate of a companion, whom Ivan said died several months ago.

Vaca said Ivan was disorientated and did not know what had happened during his long stint at sea.

"He feels a little desperate and he wants to get back to Mexico, but he doesn't know how," she said.

Ivan appears to have survived by eating turtles, birds and fish and by drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

He caught the animals with his bare hands as there was no fishing gear on board the boat. There was a turtle on the boat when it landed at Ebon.

"We've been feeding him nutritious island food and he's getting better," deBrum said. "He has pain in both knees so he cannot stand up by himself. Otherwise, he's OK."

Ivan is expected to arrive in Majuro late Monday morning.

His talk with Vaca, which took place via radio, is believed to be the first time in many months that the Mexican has had a conversation that he was able to understand.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
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

Administrative Assistant

£60 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Administrative Assitant Hertford...

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary History Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

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