The fisherman who says he survived a 13-month journey in the Pacific should return to Mexico to explain the death of a young man who accompanied him, the victim’s family says.
The survivor, Jose Salvador Alvarenga, has told reporters that the young man who accompanied him was a teenager who starved to death because he would vomit the raw fish and birds they ate during the ordeal.
But the victim’s family said from their humble home in the southern state of Chiapas that the victim, Ezequiel, was a 24-year-old man and that they could not believe that he refused to eat.
“We want him to come here, for the government to bring him here,” said Ezequiel’s brother, Romeo Cordoba Rios, adding his mother had made the request to the Mexican foreign ministry.
The family, however, does not want a criminal investigation against Alvarenga.
“It was a work accident,” the brother said.
“The only thing we want is to know what was the last thing that he told this man and what he did with my brother’s body,” he said, adding that his mother was “still crying for her son.”
Alvarenga, 37, is a native of El Salvador who lived in Mexico until he ended up in the Marshall Islands last week.
Officials in the Marshall Islands said Alvarenga would depart the tiny Pacific nation on Friday for Hawaii, before travelling on to El Salvador or Mexico.
Ezequiel’s parents live with their eight children in the village of El Fortin, close to the hamlet from where the man and Alvarenga set out on a shark fishing expedition 13 months ago.
The family said Ezequiel did not really know Alvarenga and decided at the last minute to join him aboard a small boat in late 2012.
Alavarenga said this week that Ezequiel died four months into the ordeal and that he pushed the body off the boat.
The family of the victim had help out hope that Ezequiel was still alive following his disappearance more than a year ago.
“We imagined that he was in a hospital, in prison or in a remote location, so far that he could not get help,” the brother said.
Cordoba Rios refused to believe that Ezequiel was unable to eat.
“I think that when you’re out there, you want to survive. I can’t believe that he refused (to eat). He was healthy,” Cordoba Rios said.