• SALVADORAN CASTAWAY NOW TERRIFIED OF THE OCEAN

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    SAN SALVADOR: The Salvadoran fisherman who survived 13 months drifting in the Pacific will undergo additional medical tests and stay in hospital until at least Monday.

    Doctors who have seen Jose Salvador Alvarenga since the 27-year-old returned to El Salvador on Tuesday say he is in remarkable physical shape but needs psychological attention following his ordeal.

    “We will conduct a new medical evaluation by Monday, and a decision on when he will be discharged will be based on this,” San Rafael public hospital director Yeerles Ramirez told Agence France-Presse from Santa Tecla outside the capital San Salvador.

    He said doctors would conduct new tests and a neurosurgeon would examine the results of an MRI brain scan performed on Friday in the castaway’s lumbar region.

    Alvarenga emerged in the Marshall Islands two weeks ago following a 12,500-kilometer journey in a seven-meter fiberglass boat.

    On Thursday, psychiatrist Angel Fredi Sermeno said the fisherman was now terrified of his once-beloved sea, adding that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and mental exhaustion that often made him break into tears.

    “It wouldn’t be advisable for now” for him to see the ocean, Sermeno said, noting that Alvarenga was suffering from fear of the sea.

    “He doesn’t want to have anything to do with the ocean. He wants to avoid being in front of the sea as much as possible.”

    Alvarenga says his companion, Ezequiel Cordoba, starved to death because he could not stomach the diet of urine, turtle blood, raw fish and bird flesh.

    AFP

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