Mexican fishermen found after 11 months at sea

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Glad to see these guys survived!!!!

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Three Mexican fishermen found drifting in the Pacific Ocean could have been lost for almost a year and two others were missing and presumed dead, the manager of a fishing company that rescued them said on Wednesday.

Early reports suggested the fishermen had been lost at sea for about three months and drifted more than 8,000 km (5,000 miles) before they were found by a Taiwanese tuna fishing trawler in waters between the Marshall Islands and Kiribati on August 9.

But Eugene Muller, manager of Koo's Fishing Co. Ltd in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro, said it now appeared they had been at sea much longer than that in an extraordinary story of maritime survival.

"The first report was three months, but after that we got some more word from the ship that it might have been since last September," Muller told Reuters by telephone from Majuro.

"It's a pretty long way from where they're from. It's more than three months," he said.

The three men -- identified in media reports as Salvador Ordonez Vasques, Jesus Eduardo Vidana Lopez and Lucio Randon Bacerro -- are all from the town of San Blas on Mexico's Pacific coast.

Muller said details of how the men survived remained sketchy because of language difficulties between the Mexican fisherman and the Taiwanese crew of the trawler that rescued them.

He said it appeared the three men had survived on rain water, sea birds and fish they had been able to catch as they drifted in their 25-foot-long (8 meter) fibreglass boat.

"They were very skinny and very hungry," he said.

Muller said there were five men aboard the boat when it set out from San Blas.

"Two of them jumped overboard a few days into their ordeal," he said. No further details were available about the other two men, who were presumed dead, he said.

It appeared their small fishing boat, equipped with two 200 horsepower outboard motors, had suffered engine problems soon after it left San Blas.

"It looks like they had engine problems because their motors had been dismantled and it seemed like they were trying to salvage parts from one to get the other one working," Muller said.

The trawler which rescued the men was not expected to dock in the Marshalls for up to two weeks.

Muller said Marshall Islands government officials had contacted the Mexican Embassy in New Zealand, which handles relations between the Marshalls and Mexico, to arrange for the repatriation of the fishermen.

The Mexican embassy in Wellington said the matter was being handled by the Mexican foreign ministry in Mexico City and gave no further details.

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