A would-be immigrant to the European Union is reported to have
confessed to cannibalism to stay alive after his boat lost power and
drifted for weeks in the Atlantic.
Two other passengers were killed after they were driven mad by thirst and hunger, he said.
Youssef Kaindil was one of six people on board a
13 ft wooden boat that set off from Morocco for the Canary Islands, a
perilous route undertaken by tens of thousands of people seeking work
in Europe every year.
Half way into the two-day journey the vessel
started drifting after the engine failed, and two days later their food
ran out. They were unable to catch fish or seabirds, and with no rain
had to drink seawater.
"The thirst and hunger was unbearable," said Mr Kaindil, 30.
"I was just getting thinner and thinner and thinner."
Two of the group went insane and, after they
started assaulting the others, the captain waited for them to fall
asleep before throwing them into the ocean to die.
"Its the only way we wouldve survived their
mad attacks," Mr Kaindil said. "Two others just lost their minds and
dived overboard and drowned."
After two weeks at sea the captain also died.
"I spent that last week at sea all alone," Mr Kaindil told Johannesburgs Star newspaper.
"I was very hungry and thirsty. I bit a piece out of his thigh but I had to close my eyes. It was never meant to end like this.
"By then I was prepared to die. A godly tranquillity came over me and I spent my time talking to Allah. He kept me sane."
Finally after three weeks at sea he was spotted
by a passing freighter, the Safmarine Nokwanda, rescued and taken to
Port Elizabeth in South Africa, the vessels destination.
A spokesman for Safmarine, an international
shipping company, confirmed that Mr Kaindil was picked up alone from a
small wooden boat, 40 miles off the African coast and 330 miles from
the Canary Islands.
"He was quite a lucky man," she said, adding
that the firm was unable to confirm the reported cannibalism or that
others were thrown overboard.
South African authorities confirmed he had been picked up and has now returned to Morocco.