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Fishermen survive NINE months at sea eating birds.

Fishermen survive NINE months at sea eating birds.

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Three Mexican shark fishermen survived nine months at sea in a small boat by eating raw birds and fish and drinking rain water as they drifted thousands of miles (kilometres) across the Pacific Ocean.
The fishermen said they left their home town of San Blas on Mexico's Pacific coast last November and were blown 5,000 miles (8,000 km) off course after their 25-foot (8-metre) fibreglass boat ran out of gas and they were left to the mercy of the winds and the tides.
Their families had given them up for dead, but they found a way to survive.
"We ate raw fish, ducks, sea gulls. We took down any bird that landed on our boat and we ate it like that, raw," said Jesus Vidana, one of the three survivors, in an interview with a Mexican radio station from the ship that rescued them.
The odyssey finally ended when Vidana and the other two men, identified as Salvador Ordonez and Lucio Rendon, were rescued last week by a Taiwanese tuna fishing trawler in waters between the Marshall Islands and Kiribati.
"They were very skinny and very hungry," Eugene Muller, the manager of the fishing company that found them, said on Wednesday.
The three men were sunburned but were otherwise in good shape. Vidana said he and his crew mates always believed they would be found.
"We never lost hope because we were always seeing boats. They passed us by, but we kept on seeing them. Every week or so, sometimes we'd go a month without seeing one, but we always saw them so we never lost hope."
It was not clear why none of the boats stopped for the Mexicans earlier on, and they were lucky to be picked up in the end because they were fast asleep and only noticed the rescue boat was coming for them when they heard its engine.
Details of the extraordinary journey were sketchy, in part because of language difficulties between the Mexican fishermen and the Taiwanese trawler crew.
The first reports were that they had been lost for three months, and Muller said he thought they were drifting for 11 months.
Vidana and relatives in San Blas said they set out on their dramatic fishing trip last November.
Muller said he understood that there were five men aboard the boat when it set out from San Blas, and that two of them jumped overboard a few days into their ordeal. But Vidana made no mention of any missing fishermen.
In San Blas, relatives and friends of the fishermen had given up hope and were astonished to hear of their survival.
"I lived so sad. ... Now that I know my grandson is alive, I just want him to come home," Francisca Perez, the grandmother of Lucio Rendon, told the Televisa news station. "
"There are no words to express it. The emotion here is very strong because we thought they were dead,"
said Efrain Partida, a fellow fisherman from the small village.
Mexico's government is sending an official to meet the survivors in the Marshall Islands when the trawler that picked them up returns to port in a couple of weeks. The government will then help them return home.



Soure: Scotsman News and the Vancouver Sun dated August 16, 2006

Absolutely incredible...
  • (Anonymous)
    A remarkable story with a happy ending. Very lucky people indeed!

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