Tags: salvador alvarenga | ezequiel cordoba | castaway | sued | cannibalism

Salvador Alvarenga, Castaway, Sued for Cannibalizing His Mate

Image: Salvador Alvarenga, Castaway, Sued for Cannibalizing His Mate

Jose Salvador Alvarenga steps off a sea patrol vessel after a 22-hour boat ride from an atoll where he washed up. (GIFF JOHNSON/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 11:38 AM

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a Salvadoron castaway who survived 14 months at sea, is being sued for cannibalism by the family of his Mexican crewmate who died part way through the ordeal.

Alvarenga, 36, and Ezequiel Cordoba, 22, left Tapachula in Mexico for a two-day fishing trip in November 2012, but strong winds blew their 25-foot boat off course, said People magazine. Alvarenga then washed up on the southern tip of the Marshall Islands 438 days later.

Alvarenga told officials that winds disabled the boat, and he and Cordoba survived by catching fish and birds while drinking turtle blood, urine and rainwater.

Alvarenga said Cordoba went into mental and physical decline after two months at sea, refusing food and eventually dying, according to Time magazine.

Cordoba's family wants $1 million in compensation, charging that Alvarenga ate Cordoba to stay alive. Alvarenga's attorney countered, saying the family didn't file the lawsuit until Alvarenga's book on their ordeal was published.

"I believe that this demand is part of the pressure from this family to divide the proceeds of royalties," the attorney El Diario de Hoy in El Salvador. "Many believe the book is making my client a rich man, but what he will earn is much less than people think."

Alvarenga's former attorney, Benedicto Perlera, also is suing his former client for breach of contract.

The Guardian questioned if, under such circumstances, cannibalism would be illegal.

"It would not be the first time a survivor in extreme circumstances had tucked in to a fellow traveler," said its Homa Khaleeli. "After a plane crash in the Andes in 1972, passengers ate the frozen remains of those who had perished, surviving 72 days before they were rescued."

"In 2000, three migrants from the Dominican republic survived for three weeks when their boat engine failed at sea, only by devouring some of the 60 others who succumbed to dehydration and exposure."

In February 2014, Cordoba's mother Roselia Diaz Cueto took a different stance, telling The Associated Press she didn't blame Alvarenga for her son's death.

"I want it understood that I am not blaming this person, Alvarenga, nor am I declaring him guilty of anything," Diaz Cueto told the AP after meeting with federal government officials.


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Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a Salvadoron castaway who survived 14 months at sea, is being sued for cannibalism by the family of his Mexican crewmate who died part way through the ordeal.
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Friday, 18 Dec 2015 11:38 AM
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