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Castaway update........ Jose Salvador Alvarenga Given Hero's Welcome

A castaway who says he spent 16 months adrift in the Pacific has returned home - but was too emotional to speak to well-wishers.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga muttered a few inaudible words as he was pushed through El Salvador's main airport in a wheelchair.

Dozens of news cameras were there to greet the 37-year-old - two weeks after he washed ashore in the Marshall Islands.

The clean-shaven castaway was helped by Foreign Minister Jaime Miranda.

"The story of Jose is a story of faith but also a story of struggle for life," Mr Miranda said

"It's a moment of much happiness for Salvadorans."

Mr Alvarenga's cousin was there to welcome him home.

"He could have died," he said.

"But thanks to God my cousin is a warrior, because I don't know what would have happened to another person."

The fisherman, who had lived for years in Mexico and set sail from there on a fishing trip in late 2012, said he survived by eating raw fish and birds as well as drinking turtle blood, urine and rainwater.

When Ebon islanders discovered him on the atoll - some 8,000 miles away from Mexico - he was unable to walk without assistance.

Mr Alvarenga's miraculous story was met with some doubt when images first emerged of him with shaggy hair and a bushy beard, but looking well fed.

Experts have said it is theoretically possible to survive such a journey, while an investigation is under way to verify Mr Alvarenga's account.

Mr Alvarenga claims he set sail from Tapachula in Mexico on December 21, 2012, with Ezequiel Cordoba, 24, who starved to death four months into the ordeal because he would vomit raw fish and birds and fell overboard.

Mr Cordoba's family do not want a criminal investigation to be launched into what happened, they do not believe he refused to eat and have demanded to meet Mr Alvarenga.

The victim's brother, Romeo Cordoba Rios, 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."

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