Not a very Christmas-y story, I know, but……
José Salvador Alvarenga – the world’s longest surviving castaway, who was adrift in the South Pacific for a mind-boggling 438 days – is now being sued by his dead shipmate’s family over allegations that he ate the man in order to stay alive.
In November 2012, Alvarenga set sail in a small fishing boat from a coastal town in Mexico with Córdoba. He’d agreed to pay 22-year-old Ezequiel Córdoba $50 for the planned two-day fishing trip.
Instead, the men ran into a massive storm and seemingly vanished. More than a year later, Alvarenga washed ashore, alone, on an atoll in the Marshall Islands, some 6,700 miles away from where he went missing.
The story Alvarenga, 37, told in the wake of his rescue — surviving on raw fish, turtle blood and his own urine — was nothing short of incredible. After some initial doubts, officials said his account checked out.
Ezequiel Córdoba reportedly starved to death months into the ordeal. Before he died, though, he made Alvarenga promise two things — that he would not eat his corpse and that he would find Cordoba’s mother and tell her what happened.
Alvarenga met with Córdoba’s mother in May last year. About a month later, however, he was accused of cannibalizing his companion.
In Alvarenga’s account, Córdoba convulsed and died on the floor of the boat with his eyes open. Alvarenga said he continued talking to the corpse for six days, unable to cope with having lost his only companion.
When Alvarenga finally regained his composure, he said he performed as best a burial as he could manage:
“First I washed his feet. His clothes were useful, so I stripped off a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. I put that on — it was red, with little skull-and-crossbones — and then I dumped him in. And as I slid him into the water, I fainted.”
Córdoba’s mother, however, dispute his claims and alleges that he ate her son to survive, and is seeking $1 million, reports Fox News Latino.
Alvaregna continues to strenuously deny the claims. “Not for one second did I think of eating Ezequiel,” he told the Daily Mail. “I wouldn’t have done it, even if it meant that I starved. It would have been on my conscience forever.”
The Salvadoran attorney who has represented Alvarenga since his return, says that Córdoba’s relatives can’t prove their allegations and that they are financially motivated.
“I believe the suit is a pressure tactic, trying to get him to pay part of the money that they’re all after [from the book deal], which isn’t as much as is talked about,” Cucalón told the paper.
HuffPo commenters had many interesting things to say about this whole kerfuffle. Read the back and forth below.
I’m of the mind that you do what you gotta do to survive. Ain’t no shame in eating your boat buddy. And you have my permission to eat me should the situation arise. My family is totes OK with it, I’m sure.
What do you think? Is he telling the truth? Or did he gobble down Ezequiel’s stringy little body the first chance he got? (via HuffPo)