(Photo: YouTube still)
José Salvador Alvarenga, the Salvadoran castaway that was rescued on Jan. 29 in the Marshall Islands after presumably surviving over a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, finally arrived in El Salvador on Tuesday, where he was welcomed by his family.
According to CNN, Alvarenga will be hospitalized once more in El Salvador, and will be kept under observation until further notice, after he suffered a relapse in his health last week that prevented him from speeding up the repatriation process.
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According to the BBC, Salvador Alvarenga was shown to feel exhausted after the long flight from the Marshall Islands to the International Airport of San Salvador. Before heading to his family's home in the town of Garita Palmera, the survivor must first spend some time at the San Rafael hospital in the Salvadoran capital until further notice.
The story of Salvador Alvarenga, who claims to have survived for 13 months eating nothing more than raw birds and fish and drinking turtle blood and his own urine, is still controversial, since many people are skeptical he might have survived for a year in this manner.
Despite everything, in El Salvador, the majority of people anxiously wait for Alvarenga himself to tell his story, and has become one of the country's biggest news in recent years, since many consider his to be a story of "courage".
This is why Jaime Miranda, the Minister of Foreign Relations of El Salvador asked the media and the public to respect the fisherman's privacy, who is in a "fragile" condition after his journey.
"José's story is one of faith and struggling to live, of solidarity (...) He had to survive alone for a long time, but was rescued when friendly hands came to his rescue," Miranda said, quoted by CNN.
José Salvador Alvarenga claims that he and another man got stranded at sea in September 2012, after bad weather and a storm set their boat adrift, which was reported as missing in December 2012.
Although for the moment there are doubts about the veracity of his testimony, if his story is proven to be true, Alvarenga travelled around the Pacific for about 10,800 KM before reaching the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific.