Monday, February 03, 2014
Daily 2 Cents: Pacific Castaway's Incredible Odyssey -- Nazi Malaria Mosquito Warfare -- Roswell, NM buried...by Tumbleweed
Pacific castaway recounts his 13-month odyssey
It's a story that almost defies belief: A man leaves Mexico in December 2012 for a day of shark fishing and ends up surviving 13 months on fish, birds and turtles before washing ashore on the remote Marshall Islands some 5,500 miles (8,800 kilometers) away.
But that's what a man identifying himself as 37-year-old Jose Salvador Alvarenga told the U.S. ambassador in the Marshall Islands and the nation's officials during a 30-minute meeting Monday before he was taken to a local hospital for monitoring. Alvarenga washed ashore on the tiny atoll of Ebon in the Pacific Ocean last week before being taken to the capital, Majuro, on Monday.
"It's hard for me to imagine someone surviving 13 months at sea," said Ambassador Tom Armbruster in Majuro. "But it's also hard to imagine how someone might arrive on Ebon out of the blue. Certainly this guy has had an ordeal, and has been at sea for some time."
Other officials were reacting cautiously to the Spanish-speaking man's story while they try to piece together more information.
If true, the man's ordeal would rank among the greatest tales ever of survival at sea.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department says the man told Mexico's Ambassador to the Philippines, Julio Camarena, that he set out from an area near the coastal town of Tonala in southern Chiapas state, which would mean his journey covered a distance of more than 6,500 miles (10,460 kilometers), if he drifted in a straight line.
Armbruster said the soft-spoken man complained of joint pain Monday and had a limp but was able to walk. He had long hair and a beard, the ambassador said, and rather than appearing emaciated he looked puffy in places, including around his ankles. Otherwise, he added, Alvarenga seemed in reasonable health.
Armbruster, who speaks Spanish, said the survivor told the following story:
He's a native of El Salvador but had lived in Mexico for 15 years and fishes for a man he knows as Willie, catching sharks for 25 pesos ($1.90) per pound.
On Dec. 21, 2012, Alvarenga left Mexico in his 23-foot (7-meter) fiberglass boat for a day's fishing, accompanied by a teen he knew only as Ezekiel, who was between 15 and 18.
A storm blew the fishermen off course, and soon they were lost and adrift.
"He talked about scooping up little fish that swam alongside the boat and eating them raw," Armbruster said. "He also said he ate birds, and drank birds' blood."
After about a month, Ezekiel died, the survivor told officials.
Alvarenga also talked about eating turtles. Once near Ebon, he swam ashore.
"He thanked God, initially, that he had survived," the ambassador said. "He's very anxious to get back in touch with his employer, and also with the family of Ezekiel. That's his driving motivation at the moment."
Armbruster said the man said he had no family in Mexico but he does have three brothers who live in the U.S., although he could not immediately provide officials with contact details. The Mexican government also quoted the man as saying he had no family in Mexico.
Gee Bing, the acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, said he was somewhat skeptical of Alvarenga's account after meeting with him Monday.
"It does sound like an incredible story, and I'm not sure if I believe his story," Bing said. "When we saw him, he was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts. Once we start communicating with where he's from, we'll be able to find out more information."
Bing said the man had no identification with him, and other details of his story remained sketchy. Camarena said Alvarenga gave his hometown as Garita Palmera, in El Salvador's Ahuachapan province. Mexico said it was coordinating with the Salvadoran government to provide assistance to the man.
The survivor's vital signs appeared good except that his blood pressure was a bit low, Bing said. After doctors give him the all-clear, Bing said, officials hope to repatriate him to Mexico or whatever country is appropriate.
Erik van Sebille, a Sydney-based oceanographer at the University of New South Wales, said there was a good chance a boat drifting off Mexico's west coast would eventually be carried by currents to the Marshall Islands. He said such a journey would typically take 18 months to two years depending on the winds and currents, although 13 months was possible.
"The way that the currents in the Pacific work is that there is a very strong westerly current just north of the equator and that basically drives you directly from Mexico all the way toward Indonesia and in the path, you go right over the Marshall Islands," he said.
There have been other cases of people surviving for months adrift in the Pacific. In a case with similarities, three Mexican shark fishermen in 2006 said they were lost at sea for nine months before being rescued near the Marshall Islands. In 1989, four men survived nearly four months in the Pacific Ocean near New Zealand after their multi-hulled boat capsized. - CBSNews
Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea
Entities Dressed in White Naval Uniforms
Summary of the witness narrative included within a letter to Dr. Hynek dated April 12, 1973: My sister and I saw a flying saucer in October of 1957 on a Thursday evening about 10:00 o'clock in Allen Park, Mich. I was driving east and stopped for a red light. I glanced up and saw this round, reddish orange saucer object about 30 feet in diameter going west and it was about 15 or 20 feet above the treetops. I told my sister to look at it and asked if she thought we should turnaround and follow it, so we did. We followed it about a block or two and then the saucer headed south-west and then took off very fast. My sister said she could see two figures dressed in what looked like to her, white navy uniforms. She said one was standing at what she thought was an architects drawing board and the other one walked toward him and around him and then walked toward the window. The saucer was too high up for her to notice the faces. I did not seethe figures because I was trying to watch the traffic as well as the saucer....My sister and I have good reputations. We teach school and do not drink alcoholic beverages and , and do not have hallucinations and do not tell lies or make up stories..... - MUFON CMS
Nazi Scientists May Have Plotted Malaria Mosquito Warfare
Biological warfare, the unleashing of disease-carrying living organisms and natural toxins on enemies, dates to antiquity. In World War II, both Allied and Japanese programs investigated and produced microbes to be used as biological weapons.
The recently uncovered research protocols from the Dachau concentration camp, reported by biologist Klaus Reinhardt of Germany's University of Tübingen in the December edition of the journal Endeavour, suggest that Germany also had an offensive biological research program, as long suspected.
Although Hitler issued edicts against biological weapons during the war, experts have debated for decades whether such efforts took place in the hidden corners of the Nazi regime. Complicating efforts to pierce the Nazi veil, research into how to defend against biological weapons can look a lot like-and sometimes lead to-efforts to create them. It's the central, dangerous paradox of biological weapons.
Reinhardt suggests that the Nazis did in fact run an offensive biological warfare effort under the cover of a concentration camp entomological institute headed by insect researcher Eduard May, who died in 1956. "My opinion is that May knew that he did offensive warfare research," Reinhardt says. - Read more at National Geographic
Roswell, NM buried...by tumbleweed
Residents of the New Mexico town have found their homes buried underneath mountains of dried up plants.
Well known for being the site of the world's most infamous UFO incident, Roswell has lately been subjected to an invasion of a different kind - thanks to a recent spate of high winds the town has been slowly disappearing underneath huge quantities of tumbleweed.
So much of the dried out plant matter has piled up in fact that some of the buildings are almost completely buried and the streets are choked with mountainous drifts. Emergency crews have been working ten-hour days to pile the tumbleweed in to trucks.
"I couldn't believe it – the houses and apartments were just buried by the tumbleweed," said resident Lee Cassidy. "It was right up against people’s houses and blocking them in."
Despite efforts to clean up the mess, authorities are concerned that further high winds could see a fresh supply of tumbleweed arriving in the town in the near future. - Click for video
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