Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Mexico

A Salvadorian fisherman who survived 438 days lost at sea is now being sued by his dead shipmate’s family over allegations that he cannibalized the man’s corpse in order to survive. Jose Salvador Alvarenga—the world’s longest-surviving castaway—set sail in a 24-foot fishing boat owned by Ezequiel Córdoba from the Mexican town of Costa Azul, in Chiapas, in November of 2012. During the planned two-day trip, the two men ran into a massive storm and were washed out to sea. More than a year later, Alvarenga washed ashore alone on an atoll in the Marshall Islands. Alvarenga’s 6,700-mile ordeal was eventually chronicled in the Jonathan Franklin’s book
428 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea. According to Alvarenga, he survived on raw fish, turtle blood and his own urine. Córdoba allegedly died after a few months at sea. His body was reportedly dumped into the sea six days later. Authorities eventually corroborated Alvarenga’s version of events. According to El Diario de Hoy, Córdoba’s family is asking for $1 million in damages. Ricardo Cucalón, the Salvadoran attorney who is representing Alvarenga, told El Diario that Córdoba’s relatives have no way of proving their allegations and are financially motivated. “I believe the suit is a pressure tactic, trying to get him to pay part of the money that they’re all after [from the book deal],” Cucalón told the paper. Alvarenga strenuously denies the allegations of cannibalism, telling the UK’s Daily Mail, “I wouldn’t have done it, even if it meant that I starved. It would have been on my conscience forever.”

Dateline: England

A British grandmother, locked in a public restroom for four days used the time to knit a scarf. Gladys Phillips, 82, told the
Suffolk Gazette she was shopping in the seaside Suffolk village of Felixstowe when she stopped off at a public restroom that she didn’t realize wasn’t yet open to the public. The door locked behind the senior shopper, trapping her inside. “I was not really concerned at first when I couldn’t get out, “ Phillips told the newspaper. “In fact I was just relieved I’d managed to go to the loo.” Phillips said, “I kept banging on the doors and walls and shouting for help, but obviously no one could hear me. I realized I had to tough it out, and so I sat on the loo and began knitting.” Fortunately, Phillips had just purchased a new ball of pink wool. She fed herself on a “full bag of mint imperials” she had also purchased, kept warm using the bathroom’s hand dryer and slept in her overcoat. After four days workmen returned to the job and found Phillips inside. “It was a great relief when the nice builder turned up and opened the door,” said Phillips. “He got quite a shock, I can tell you.” A town official told the Suffolk Gazette that Phillips’ inconvenience simply shows how nice the new facilities are. “We’re glad Gladys is none the worse for her ordeal,” said the official. “The fact that she was quite happy in the loo for four days does, however, show how modern and hi-tech it is.”

Dateline: Norway

Norwegians have taken to Facebook in an attempt to “gift” neighboring Finland with a mountain as an anniversary present. The online campaign hopes to move part of the border between Norway and Finland about 490 feet to the north and 650 feet to the east, placing the peak of the Halti mountains within Finnish territory. The campaign was started by retired Norwegian Mapping Authority employee Bjorn Geirr Harsson. The UK’s
Telegraph calculated Norway would lose only 0.015 square kilometers in the land deal. “It’s a very good idea,” Catherine Frostup, the current head of the Norwegian Mapping Authority told Norway’s state Broadcaster NRK. “It is a nice gift to give to a country that lacks a high mountain, where the highest point isn’t even a peak.” More than 5,000 people have already signed on to the campaign’s Facebook page.

Dateline: Florida

Authorities in Indian River County arrested a man on the night of Monday, Dec. 14, after he allegedly tried to break into the county jail to visit some friends. WFTV-9 reports surveillance footage from the jail shows 24-year-old Patrick Rempe smashing his 2002 Toyota into the front door of the facility. When the door failed to give way, Rempe turned his attention to a security gate. Rempe’s vehicle also failed to topple that obstacle, so he tried to scale the fence but got tangled up in razor wire. Rempe was rescued by emergency workers and taken to the hospital. Rempe reportedly told officers he just wanted to visit some friends inside the jail. It looks like he’ll get the opportunity. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, three counts of felony criminal mischief, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and driving under the influence. Rempe told police he was “high on flakka” at the time of the incident.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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