Fisherman washes ashore after more than a year adrift

Jose Salvador Albarengo is receiving medical treatment after being found in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: Getty

A fisherman who washed ashore on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean after more than a year adrift says he survived on a diet of raw fish and turtle blood.

Jose Salvador Albarengo told officials he and a second fisherman set sail on a shark fishing trip from Mexico - 6,200 miles away - in late December 2012 but were blown out to sea.

The 37-year-old was found in a disoriented state on a remote coral atoll at the weekend, where he had been washed up in his 7.3-metre propellerless fibreglass boat. A police patrol boat then took him to Majuro, the capital.

Around 1,000 onlookers gathered to see him arrive in the capital, where he emerged alongside a nurse clutching a can of Coca Cola, with dishevelled hair and a long beard.

"He got off the boat with a very bushy beard," Jack Niedenthal, a film-maker based on Majuro, told Reuters.

"He's having trouble walking, his legs are very skinny. I'm not ready to call this a hoax, I think this guy has done some serious time at sea," Niedenthal said after speaking briefly to Albarengo through an interpreter.

The second fisherman - aged between 15 and 18 - is believed to have died a month into their ordeal.

Speaking to the Mail Online from his hospital bed, Mr Albarengo said: "I'm alive, it is so good. I thank God and I thank the birds I caught to eat. I caught fish and at times I drank my own urine to have liquid."

Of his ill-fated companion, all he would say is: "I'm sad for him".

He told the website he desperately wanted to call his family - his wife and his 10-year-old daughter - in El Salvador - but he cannot remember the name of the village or a phone number. "I have forgotten many things," he added.

Authorities said they were still gathering information and planned to contact his family in El Salvador and the United States.

The Marshall Islands has a population of 68,000 people spread over 24 coral atolls.