A Colombian sailor spent two agonizing months lost at sea before he was spotted by a cargo ship more than 2,000 miles southeast of Hawaii.
Javier Eduardo Olaya, a 29-year-old fisherman, saw three of his shipmates die and was forced to eat seagulls in order to survive, reports NBC News.
Olaya has been reunited with his wife and family.
“He would have loved it if his friends from the boat could have been there with him,” the Coast Guard says.
“He thanks the people that picked him up, for rescuing him. He feels very bad for what happened to his friends that he was on board with.”
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The sailor set out with three men in a 23-foot skiff from Colombia two months ago. When the boat engine died, they ate fish and birds to stay alive.
On April 26, the lost boat was spotted by crew members of the Nikkei Verde, a 618-foot ship, near Hawaii. The unidentified man was transferred to a 45-foot Coast Guard vessel before arriving in Honolulu on May 4.
“This mariner is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him, as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Honolulu Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. John Mackinnon.
The three deceased sailors’ bodies were not on the skiff when it was found, but their passports were found on board, said the Coast Guard said in a statement.
There are no further investigations and the man was taken to the Colombian consulate Wednesday, reports NBC News.