1 Feb 2014

Mexican man adrift for 16 months floats in Marshall Islands atoll

8:35 am on 1 February 2014

A Mexican man who says he drifted for 16 months and more than 13,000 kilometres at sea was rescued on Thursday when he floated into an isolated atoll in the Marshall Islands.

A Norwegian anthropology student doing research on the atoll, Ola Fjeldstad, speaking to our correspondent from Ebon, that the man is malnourished and unwell but is getting better.

He has apparently drifted from Mexico and washed onto a reef in a 24-foot fibreglass boat with propeller-less engines.

The man, whose name is Jose Ivan, told the student he had a companion who died several months ago.

He said he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish and drinking turtle blood when there was no rain.

Officials at the Marshalls' Foreign Ministry say they are waiting for the man to be brought to Majuro, the capital, to learn more.

In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered by a Marshall Islands fishing vessel after nine-months at sea in a similar drift across the Pacific Ocean.