A Colombian sailor stranded for two months in the Pacific Ocean managed to survive by eating seagulls and fish before being rescued, the US Coast Guard has said. The mariner, 29, was set adrift after his 23ft-long (7.3m) skiff became disabled in an isolated area of ocean.

The man, who has not been formally identified, said three of his companions perished before a Panamanian merchant ship, the Nikkei Verde, rescued him more than 2,000 miles (3,200km) south-east of the US controlled Hawaiian Islands and notified the US Coast Guard.

The man was then picked up by the Coast Guard boat and brought to the Hawaiian State capital of Honolulu on Wednesday 4 May. He was said to be in good health.

Lieutenant Commander John MacKinnon, Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre chief with the Coast Guard 14th District, said of the rescue: , said according to NBC News:

"This mariner had great fortitude and it is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked.

"The Pacific is vast and inherently dangerous and all mariners respect that. These merchant mariners did the right thing in rendering assistance and most mariners heed the obligation to render assistance at sea, found in the Safety Of Life At Sea Convention, out of a sense of duty and understanding rather than required compliance."

The bodies of the three deceased men were not on board the boat but the survivor handed their passports to US officials when he was rescued. Further details about their deaths at sea have not been released.

"He thanks the people that picked him up, for rescuing him," said a translator speaking for the man. "He feels very bad for what happened to his friends that he was on board with. He said he would have loved it if his friends from the boat would have been here with him."

Stranded
The 29-year-old man arrives in Honolulu after being rescued by merchant mariners in the south-eastern Pacific after surviving months at seaThe US Coast Guard

It is another dramatic survival story at sea. In February 2016, two sailors drifted 600 miles (960km) away from their home in Papua New Guinea after their boat engine failed. Rickson Masol, 32, and Chris Pagan, 49, were discovered six weeks later and survived by eating only coconuts and drinking rainwater.

In January 2014 castaway fisherman Jose Alvarenga, 36, from El Salvador was found after going missing in the Pacific Ocean for 14 months. His friend had succumbed to a fatal illness before Alvarenga was found in the remote Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands 8,000mi (13,000km) from where he was reported missing near the Costa Azul, off the coast of Mexico.