An 18-year-old fisherman from Panama who survived 28 days in the Pacific on nothing but fish and rainwater, was rescued off the coast of Ecuador, reported BBC News. Adrian Vasquez was found drifting alone near the Galapagos Islands in a 10-foot fishing boat he had apparently gone out in with two friends. Vasquez said neither of them survived the ordeal, but that he had held on to the hope he would be rescued.
His survival was likely due to a sudden rainstorm, the Ecuadorian coast guard captain who helped nurse Vasquez back to health said Monday, according to the Huffington Post. Vasquez flew to Guayaquil, on the Ecuadorian mainland, to be turned over to the Panamanian consul.
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The teenage hotel worker had joined his friends on a fishing trip to earn some extra money, reported the Daily Mail. Captain Hugo Espinosa's boat picked up Vasquez early on Sunday from commercial fishermen who had found him drifting in the Pacific on Friday.
According to the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail, Espinosa said Vasquez explained what happened after recovering from malnutrition and severe dehydration:
Vasquez and his friends were returning to Rio Hato, Panama, where he worked at the Decameron Hotel, on February 24 aboard the "Fifty Cents" when its motor failed. It was about 6 p.m., and they could see land. In the first few days, the trio grilled fish they had caught on the boat until their ice melted and the fish rotted. They then had to live off what they could catch with their net.
Oropeces Betancourt, the oldest at 24, stopped eating and drinking after two weeks. He died on March 10. Three days later, his body began to decompose and Vasquez threw it overboard. Fernando Osorio, 16, died on March 15, also apparently of dehydration, sunburn and heat stroke. After three days, Vasquez pushed his other friend's body into the ocean.
Vasquez then ran out of water, but the sudden heavy rain allowed him to fill up four gallons of water and survive until he was rescued.