Castaway Fisherman Sued for Eating Crewmember

The 36-year-old fisherman who survived 15 months at sea in 2014 is now being sued for consuming his crew member’s body.

In court documents filed in El Salvador the family of 22-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba, who reportedly died two months into the ordeal, is suing Salvador Alvarenga for allegedly eating the young man’s corpse, according to The Telegraph and other news reports. 

It’s quite an astonishing claim, but one that was suggested by some at the time of Alvarenga washed up on the Marshall Islands 438 days after leaving El Salvador in what had been the longest recorded ocean survival story of all time. They were only supposed to be out fishing for two days.

At the time, Alvarenga spoke to few reporters, which fueled the cannibal rumors. He did, however, sit down with author Jonathan Franklin and just a month ago the book 438 Days: An Incredible True Story of Survival at Sea was released. Curious timing for that lawsuit, do you think?

In the account, Alvarenga for the first time tries to clarify what happened. He explained to the author how they got stuck in a storm and their engine and radio both failed. The young man got sick from a bird and refused to eat, he said, which led to worsening health problems and eventually death.

The fisherman then kept his body on board the boat for six days, continuing to have conversation with him until one day he snapped out of it. After saying a prayer, he said he slipped his body into the water and definitely did not eat him. 

In filing the $1 million suit, the family clearly hopes win a piece of future book sales, but so far the book has not been doing great. 

Photo credit: CBS News