20 Feb 2014

Salvador's Alvarenga released from hospital but destination kept secret

8:16 am on 20 February 2014

The Salvadoran fisherman who says he survived 13 months adrift in the Pacific was released from a hospital on Tuesday after a week-long stay, but his destination is being kept secret.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga told reporters as he walked out of a hospital near San Salvador that he is doing well.

He had been expected to return to his family's coastal village of Garita Palmera after he returned to his homeland last week following an odyssey that had taken him from Mexico to the Marshall Islands.

But the 37-year-old, who doctors say has developed a phobia of the sea, told reporters he did not want to return to Garita Palmera.

Doctors declared Alvarenga in remarkable physical health despite an ordeal in which he survived by eating raw fish and bird flesh while drinking turtle blood, rainwater and his own urine.

But they warned last week that he is psychologically weak, prescribing him antidepressants and anxiety medication.