Boy's miracle escape as pals die in 28-day ocean horror
An 18-year-old who worked in a seaside hotel in Panama happily took up an offer by two friends to join them on a fishing trip and earn extra cash.
It was 28 days later, when Adrian Vasquez was found drifting alone in the 10ft fishing boat in the waters off Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where the trio had set out to fish.
His two friends had died, and he owed his survival to a sudden rainstorm, said the Ecuadorean coastguard captain who helped nurse him back to health.
Captain Hugo Espinosa's patrol boat picked up Adrian from fishermen who had stumbled across him drifting in the Pacific. The captain said Adrian recounted his story after recovering over the weekend from malnutrition and severe dehydration:
He and his friends were returning to Rio Hato, Panama, where he worked at a hotel, on February 24 aboard the Fifty Cents boat when its motor failed.
In the first few days, the trio grilled fish on the boat. But then their ice melted and the fish rotted. Adrian's two pals died and he ran out of water.
"When he was nearly dead it rained, and Vasquez was able to fill up with water," said Captain Espinosa.