Sea survivor's family had given him up for dead; say he was strong experienced seaman

The amazing survival of a Salvadoran fisherman after 14 ½ months and 6,500 miles in an open boat has proven a double miracle for his mother and father, who lost touch with him eight years ago and thought he had died long ago.

The joyful, sometimes tearful reaction of the parents of sea survivor Jose Salvador Alvarenga may also help explain how he managed to survive.

His father described a strong, stocky young man with a love of the ocean that led him to go to sea at 14.

Jose Ricardo Orellana said Tuesday "the sea was his thing."

The parents also said his boyhood nickname "Cerilo" coincides with the name of a man registered with civil defense officials in Mexico as disappeared during a storm in November 2012.