Man Lost at Sea for Months Watched 3 Companions Die

29-year-old Colombian says they set out more than 2 months ago
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2016 5:33 AM CDT
Updated May 5, 2016 6:23 AM CDT
Man Lost at Sea for Months Watched 3 Companions Die
A 29-year-old man arrived in good condition to Honolulu May 4, 2016, aboard a Coast Guard small boat after being rescued by merchant mariners in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean and surviving a two-month ordeal at sea.    (US Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Some 2,150 miles southeast of Hawaii, in what NBC News describes as a "desolate stretch of the Pacific Ocean" was a man, floating toward his death—or rescue, as it turns out. A China-bound cargo ship spotted the 29-year-old Colombian's 23-foot powerless skiff on April 26; he was taken aboard the Panama-flagged Nikkei Verde and then taken on by the US Coast Guard, ultimately landing Wednesday in Honolulu, Hawaii. Now, the unnamed man has told his tale: of leaving Colombia, some 3,500 miles from where he is now, more than two months ago; of a dead engine; of eating fish and seagulls to survive; and of watching his three companions die. A Coast Guard statement notes their bodies were not on the boat, though he did have their passports.

"This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked," said Lt. Cmdr. John MacKinnon, Joint Rescue Coordination Center chief with the Coast Guard's 14th District, in the statement. "The Pacific is vast and inherently dangerous." The statement explains that JRCC Honolulu handles search and rescue over 12.2 million square miles of the Pacific. The man, said to be "in good condition," is now being aided by the Colombian consulate. Through a translator, he expressed his thanks for his rescue and sadness over "what happened to his friends that he was on board with. He said he would have loved it if his friends from the boat would have been here with him." (Read how this man survived 436 days lost at sea.)

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