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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Fishermen detail Pacific ordeal
Noemi Becerra, centre, mother of Lucio Rendon wipes a tear after hearing the news about her son on 17 August 2006
The fishermen are soon to be reunited with their families
Three fishermen who say they spent nine months adrift in the Pacific have been giving more details of their ordeal.

The Mexicans told how two of their crew had died because they could not eat raw birds and fish.

The three men arrived at the Marshall Islands two weeks after they were picked up by a Taiwanese tuna trawler.

The men say their eight-metre (25ft) boat broke down on a shark fishing trip and denied suggestions they had set out to pick up a shipment of drugs.

"That's wrong because we set out to catch sharks," survivor Jesus Vidana said.

Mr Vidana, Salvador Ordonez and Lucio Rendon have undergone a medical check-up and been passed fit to travel. They are due to reach Mexico on Friday.

Swollen feet

The three men, from the Mexican town of San Blas, said they set off in October 2005 with two other crew members.

Their fibreglass boat, equipped with two 200 horsepower outboard motors, ran into trouble soon after setting out from the state of Nayarit.

Correspondents said they looked thin and had swollen feet, but otherwise appeared to be healthy.

"I'm well, very well," said Mr Ordonez, who insisted he had not been put off from going back to sea.

File photo of Lucio Rendon
Lucio Rendon and fellow survivors say they were hired for the trip

The survivors said they lost two of their crew because they could not digest the raw seagulls, duck and fish they caught.

"They kept throwing up and eventually they vomited blood," Mr Ordonez said.

Mr Ordonez earned the nickname El Gato - the cat - for the way he pounced on the birds that landed on their boat, the other two men said.

They described how they took turns to read the Bible and pray together as they went several months without sighting a ship.

The men can expect a heroes' welcome when they arrive home in Mexico.

The Mexican Council of Bishops said their faith was a shining example to others.

Speculation about the purpose of the trip arose after it emerged the three survivors did not know the full names of the two men who died.

Mr Vidana said they had been hired by the two men who died to make the fishing trip.

There was also confusion over the length of the time the men were at sea. Some relatives had initially told government news agency Notimex it was only three months.

Pacific map




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The fishermen describe their ordeal



SEE ALSO
Mexicans' 'nine-month' sea ordeal
16 Aug 06 |  Americas



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