Castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga makes his first public appearance in his home country after being lost at sea for more than a year.(Source: CNN)
Alvarenga's family and friends gather at his parents home in Garita Palmera, El Salvador to watch his return on television. (Source: CNN)
(CNN) – The man who spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean has returned home to El Salvador.
Jose Salvador Alvarenga arrived in San Salvador on Tuesday, and was taken to hospital for a full medical evaluation.
He tried to speak, but both emotion and weakness got in the way.
After the brief appearance, the first from his home country, Jose Salvador Alvarenga was whisked away to a hospital.
The 36-year-old fisherman turned up late January on a small boat in the Marshall Islands. He told authorities he was lost at sea for 13 months, eating raw fish and turtles, and drinking rainwater and his own urine.
At his parents' house in the coastal town of Garita Palmera, relatives cried tears of joy after watching the castaway's return, broadcast live on TV.
"It was very moving," Alvarenga's cousin Abigail Portillo said. "I feel happy because he's finally here in our land of El Salvador."
Others were concerned about Alvarenga's apparent frail condition and inability to speak.
"Se ve debil."
"He looks weak, but I know he's going to get well," Alvarenga's cousin Jose said. "He's going to get back up."
There were also dozens of neighbors and supporters outside the Alvarenga home.
"Grande, el grande."
Resident Jorge Monzon called Alvarenga a great champion, even greater than football's biggest stars.
A band from a local church also showed up. Its members said they were worshiping God for what they call a miracle.