That’s no way to treat your fishing buddy.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga — who famously survived after being lost at sea for 438 days — is accused of eating his colleague’s remains in order to survive, according to a $1 million lawsuit filed by the man’s relatives.
Alvarenga has long denied cannibalism claims, and his attorney believes the lawsuit was financially motivated.
Alvarenga stated following his March 2014 rescue that fisherman Ezequiel Cordoba died around four months into the voyage. After Cordoba died, Alvarenga says he kept the body on board for six days, afraid of the loneliness. But eventually, he says, he pushed the body overboard. “What else could I do?” he said following his rescue.
Alvarenga and Cordoba, a 22-year-old novice fisherman, set out for the Mexican village of Costa Azul on Nov. 17, 2012. The journey was supposed to take two days, but their 25-foot fiberglass boat got caught in a storm, and the boat’s motor and radio died.
As their boat drifted, the castaways ate raw fish, uncooked birds and turtles, and drank their own urine, Alvarenga said later.
Cordoba wasn’t as skilled of a survivalist and fell ill after eating a bird. The partners later found a venomous sea snake in the bird’s gut.
Cordoba’s emotional state deteriorated, and he tried to throw himself overboard, Alvarenga said later. As his physical and emotional states deteriorated, Cordoba reportedly had two promises for his partner — not to eat his corpse, and that he find Cordoba’s mother and tell her what happened.
Alvarenga kept the second promise after coming ashore on an outpost of the Marshall Islands.
“I want it understood that I am not blaming this person, Alvarenga, nor am I declaring him guilty of anything,” the man’s mother, Diaz Cueto, said at the time of the meeting.