Pacific castaway leaves hospital after treatment

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The Salvadoran fisherman who says he drifted at sea for more than a year has left hospital after treatment for the psychological and physical effects of his journey.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 37, said he would not be returning to his home town of Garita Palmera, but he did not say where he was headed.

“I’m doing well, thank you,” he told reporters yesterday. “Thank you everyone. God bless you.”

He appeared strong and walked on his own, surrounded by family members, doctors and a lawyer.

Mr Alvarenga’s story stunned the world when he washed up on a Pacific atoll several weeks ago, seemingly robust and barely sunburned. But he turned out to be swollen, dehydrated and in pain from the 6,000-mile ordeal.

He said he survived on raw fish, turtles and bird blood and came close to giving up hope of being rescued after several large ships came near his small fishing boat but none tried to rescue him.

All of the doctors who have seen Mr Alvarenga expressed concern about his mental state.