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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Mexicans' 'nine-month' sea ordeal
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Three Mexican fishermen who say they spent about nine months drifting across the Pacific Ocean have been rescued.

The three men said they survived on rain water, sea birds and fish after the engine on their eight-metre (25ft) boat broke down.

They were eventually picked up by a Taiwanese tuna trawler close to the Marshall Islands on 9 August.

A trip to catch shark off the Mexican Pacific coast turned into a 5,000-mile (8,000km) ordeal, they said.

'Twice we almost sank'

The three men, identified as Salvador Ordonez, Jesus Vidana and Lucio Rendon, are all from the Mexican town of San Blas.

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

Suddenly we saw ships going by... we were with the Japanese and Chinese
Lucio Rendon

"We ate raw seagulls, ducks and fish. We ate everything raw - any fish that came near the boat we grabbed it and gulped it down," Jesus Vidana told Televisa channel in an interview late Tuesday.

"We drank rain water because it rained every day," he said. "Twice we almost sank. The waves washed into the boat and we thought we were going to die."

The three shipwrecked mates took turns reading the Bible and praying together.

Lucio Rendon said they went several months without sighting a ship.

One of the guys on the boat has a watch that shows the months and the days
Jesus Vidana

"Then suddenly we saw ships going by and we'd reached the other side [of the Pacific]. We were with the Japanese and Chinese," he said.

Eugene Muller, manager of Koo's Fishing Co Ltd, which owns the trawler that found the men, said details of the ordeal were sketchy because of language difficulties between the fishermen and their rescuers.

But he said there may have been five men on board when the boat set out and that two may have jumped overboard a few days into their ordeal. They were presumed dead.

Mr Muller said the survivors were recovering well and that the boat carrying them would dock as scheduled in the Marshall Islands within two weeks.

Mr Muller said he thought the men may have been drifting even longer - 11 months.

Some relatives had initially told government news agency Notimex it was only three months.

But Mr Vidana said: "One of the guys on the boat has a watch that shows the months and the days."

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