Puerto Rico Fisherman Survives 20 Days Adrift

Published February 6, 2012 7:45PM (EST)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Puerto Rican fisherman spent nearly three weeks adrift in the Caribbean, surviving on raw fish and trapped rainwater, before reaching the Colombian island of San Andres.

Jose Luis Mendez of Mayaguez tells The Associated Press a stiff wind blew his 16-footer (5-meter launch) out to sea on Jan. 15 and he was trying to return to land when he had engine trouble, then ran out of gas.

The 40-year-old fisherman said Monday after being released from the hospital that he lost more than 40 pounds (20 kilograms) and had to dump his entire catch.

He would end up drifting about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). The doctor who treated him said he was dehydrated and malnourished upon arrival but is now in good health.

By Salon Staff

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