A remarkable story of survival has emerged from the southern state of Oaxaca, where three fishermen who were lost at sea kept themselves alive for 11 days by drinking the blood of ducks and a turtle and even their own urine.
On Thursday night, the three grateful men returned to dry ground in nearby Huatulco after being rescued by the Navy.
“Thank you, God the father,” said Adolfo Chapol upon arrival, before engaging in a long embrace with his waiting family.
“It’s a miracle,” the other two men — Isael Morales Ramírez and Wilfrido Morales Escobar — said before they too flung themselves into the waiting arms of their loved ones.
The three men’s misadventure began on January 6 when they set off from Manzanillo Beach in Puerto Escondido to go shark fishing.
But soon after, strong swells caused their boat to start taking on water before a big wave struck and their food, water and gasoline went over the side.
So while they survived the initial challenge thrown at them by a violent Pacific Ocean, they were left with nothing to sustain themselves beyond their own faith, self-belief and ingenuity.
Their motor wouldn’t start and they were left to drift at the whims and currents of the sea.
Long days and nights passed and attempts by the Navy to locate them were hampered by inclement weather.
“They saw the plane, and even the boats go by, but unfortunately due to the bad weather they were not detected by the radar . . . they didn’t know how to make a signal to them,” said Morales’ sister Cristela, adding that it was the first time that her brother had gone on a shark fishing expedition.
However, knowing that a search was under way gave the three men hope that they would eventually be rescued. Meanwhile, their anxious families onshore maintained pressure on authorities to keep up the search efforts.
A false alarm from state Civil Protection authorities saying that the men had been rescued on January 11 raised the ire of family members, but their belief endured.
“Our faith, our hope . . . didn’t waver, we were always resolute to keep fighting and keep asking the authorities to not stop looking for them,” Cristela Morales said.
On Wednesday, the Navy finally located the dehydrated fishermen off the coast of Acapulco and the men arrived in Huatulco aboard a Navy vessel the following night.
The trio had left to fish some 15 kilometers offshore but they ended up drifting more than 300 kilometers from land.
“When the Navy brought them back to us our hearts rested,” Cristela Morales said as tears ran down her face.
The three lucky fishermen then made a final journey by land of about 110 kilometers to their homes in Puerto Escondido, where they are resting up before their next — hopefully less stressful — deep-sea fishing adventure.