10 Feb 2014

El Salvadoran drifter to Marshalls could return home tonight

2:09 pm on 10 February 2014

An El Salvadoran man who drifted from Mexico to the Marshall Islands could begin his voyage home as early as tonight.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who survived a 13-month ordeal at sea, will undergo a medical consultation in Majuro today, when doctors may give him clearance to depart.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says once Mr Alvarenga is deemed fit to travel, he will fly to Hawaii where the necessary paperwork will be arranged to get him through the United States and back to El Salvador.

"The exam and various lab tests that will be done at Majuro hospital today will determine whether he's okay to fly. And his options are possibly a departure tonight or the next flight out to Hawaii is on Wednesday night."

Giff Johnson says doctors said Mr Alvarenga's health was improving over the weekend and earlier lab tests have returned normal.