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Castaway lost at sea for 15 months sued by crewmate's family, accused of cannibalism

Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived 15 months at sea
Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived 15 months at sea

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, who survived 15 months adrift in the Pacific ocean is being sued by his dead crewmate's relatives who claim he ate him in order to survive.

 Alvarenga, 36, was lost at sea for 438 days after a storm crippled the boat that he and his crewmate Ezequiel Cordoba were commanding off the coast of Mexico in 2012.

The storm blew the boat off course and they drifted 6700 miles from the Mexican coastline.

Alvarenga astonished the world when he re-appeared in the Marshall Islands in January 2014 looking shaggy haired and confused but in relatively good health.

The castaway said he managed to survive the ordeal by eating fish and birds he caught with his own hands and drinking his own urine, rainwater and turtle blood.

He claimed Cordoba (22) died from starvation four months into voyage.

The fisherman said he kept the body on board for six days after his death because he was afraid of the loneliness but eventually threw the body overboard.

Initially the family of Cordoba accepted Alvarenga's version of events after he had been found.

"I want it understood that I am not blaming this person, Alvarenga, nor am I declaring him guilty of anything," the man's mother, Diaz Cueto.

But now the family are disputing his story.

In his claim filed after Alvargena published his memoir of the ordeal, the family are suing for $1 million,claiming their son was a victim of cannibalism.

Alvargena's lawyer told the press that his client has always denied eating his friend.

"I believe that this demand is part of the pressure from this family to divide the proceeds of royalties,” he said.

The family are demanding that they receive 50 per cent of the book royalties.

Speaking about his ordeal, Alvarenga said he wanted to end his life during his time spent lost.

'I was going to commit suicide.

I wanted to kill myself, but no. I asked God that he was going to save me.”

Alvargena is already facing a $1 million lawsuit from his former lawyer.