Castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived a year at sea by eating birds, fish, and turtles he could scavenge from his disabled boat. Now, grisly claims are emerging that the 36-year-old fisherman also ate something else: his dead crewmate. The family of Ezequiel Cordoba is suing Alvarenga for $1 million, alleging that he ate the 22-year-old's body, reports the Daily Mirror. However, it isn't clear what evidence, if any, backs up the claim. Alvarenga paid Cordoba $50 to accompany him on what was to be a two-day fishing trip off the coast of Mexico in November 2012, per the Telegraph. Alvarenga's lawyer denies the allegation of cannibalism, saying the Cordoba family is trying to make a quick buck now that Alvarenga has become famous.
Alvarenga's lawyer notes the lawsuit was filed days after the release of 438 Days, a book about the fisherman's survival. "I believe that this demand is part of the pressure from this family to divide the proceeds of royalties," he says, adding that Cordoba's family had demanded 50% of the profits back in April. "Many believe the book is making my client a rich man, but what he will earn is much less than people think." Alvarenga has said he and Cordoba survived months together before the increasingly distraught younger man finally succumbed to hunger. He says he kept the corpse on the boat for six days, chatting with it for company, before coming to his senses and throwing it overboard.