13 Feb 2014

Salvadoran drifter says cries for help ignored on way to Marshalls

6:15 pm on 13 February 2014

The Salvadoran man who drifted to the Marshall Islands says several ships passed by during his ordeal but they ignored his cries for help.

This was revealed by El Salvador's health minister, Maria Isabel Rodriguez, who had spoken to Jose Salvador Alvarenga after his return to San Salvador where he is in hospital care.

He had drifted for 13 months from Mexico, arriving in the Marshall Islands last month.

The minister says according to Mr Alvarenga's account several boats passed by during his ordeal, including some close to him.

He says one ship's crew waved back at him but did not stop to help.

In a short video released by the health ministry, Mr Alvarenga said from his hospital bed that he was doing well but pleaded with journalists who have followed his every more since he returned home to leave him alone.