LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A man who survived three months adrift in the Pacific Ocean, roasting seabirds when he ran out of food, has received offers of financial help and even free boats.
Since his return to Southern California on Tuesday, Richard Van Pham, 62, has been swamped by well-wishers amazed by his survival story.
Van Pham had set sail from Long Beach in his 26-foot sailboat, Sea Breeze, bound for Santa Catalina Island, some 25 miles offshore. En route, a storm broke his mast and his outboard motor, and his two-way radio failed.
His boat was spotted three months later, on Sept. 17, from a plane about 275 miles southwest of Costa Rica, 2,500 miles from his original destination. A U.S. Navy frigate picked him up.
Van Pham, a native of Vietnam, told rescuers he used a small grill to cook seabirds and turtle meat after he ran out of food a week into the ordeal.
The journey captured the attention of fellow boaters who have offered their own vessels to replace the Sea Breeze, which was in bad shape and was sunk by the Navy with Van Pham's permission.
"He has an inner strength that is not based on education or money, but on personal strength," said Erwin Freund, a 49-year-old scientist.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.