|Health scare for Pacific castaway
Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga was ordered to rest Friday after being hospitalised with a health scare, as a senior diplomat said all evidence so far verified his amazing story.
Alvarenga, who says he spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific, was originally due to leave the Marshall Islands for his native El Salvador on Friday, but officials pushed his departure back until early next week after doctors ruled he was too weak to fly.
He was admitted to Majuro Hospital on Thursday evening suffering back pain and swelling in his lower extremities, a hospital official who asked not to be named told AFP.
"He was discharged today (Friday) and given vitamins and medicine, and urged to drink plenty of fluid and rest,'' the official added, saying blood tests showed results consistent with dehydration and excessive meat consumption.
Doctors have scheduled a follow-up appointment for Alvarenga on Monday, meaning the earliest he is expected to leave the Marshalls is on a flight to Honolulu that night.
Christian Clay Mendoza, the deputy chief of mission at the Mexican embassy in Manila who is organising his repatriation, said such health issues were not unusual when someone had gone through such an ordeal.
"It seems that when you're in this situation you can go up and down,'' Mendoza said in the Marshalls capital Majuro late Thursday.
Alvarenga had to be helped to his seat at a brief press conference on Thursday and spoke in a dull monotone, contrasting with his upbeat demeanour upon arrival in Majuro earlier in the week, when he waved to onlookers and shouted "Hola, hola''.
At the time, doctors examined him and released him after barely 24 hours in hospital. --AFP