Mariner rescued after 2-month ordeal at sea

Associated Press

Honolulu — A Colombian mariner has been rescued after surviving a two-month ordeal in the Pacific by eating fish and seagulls to survive, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The man told the Coast Guard that his three companions on the disabled 23-foot skiff died at sea, but their bodies were not aboard the vessel that was adrift in a lightly traveled expanse of the ocean. He did, however, have the men’s passports.

The four sailors had left Colombia more than two months ago, the Coast Guard said. At some point, their skiff’s engine failed and they were left adrift.

The 29-year-old survivor, who was not identified, was spotted and rescued by the Panamanian-flagged Nikkei Verde, a merchant ship, more than 2,000 miles southeast of Hawaii.

He was transferred to a Coast Guard boat and arrived in Honolulu in good condition on Wednesday.

Coast Guard video showed the survivor dressed in a black T-shirt, jeans, a baseball cap and a life vest as he gingerly climbed down a ladder from the Nikkei Verde onto the Coast Guard’s vessel. In the video, the survivor spoke through a Coast Guard interpreter and thanked his rescuers and God. He said he would have loved it if his friends from the skiff could have been there with him.

“This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Coast Guard Lt. Commander John MacKinnon.

The Coast Guard said it is not investigating.