This is devastating.
Mariely Chacón was on a boat excursion to an island in the Atlantic Ocean when the ship was capsized by a wave. The Venezuelan mother proceeded to keep her young children, Jose David, 6, and Maria Beatriz Comblor Chacón, 2, alive by breastfeeding them for days while floating out to sea. The only nutrition she got was reportedly from drinking her own urine.
Tragically, the 40-year-old died just hours before authorities rescued the boat.
According to Mariely’s father Humberto Chacón, his daughter embarked on the “family trip” with nine other people to “entertain the children.” The passengers included 25-year-old nanny Verónica Martinez, who was also found alive after hiding in a fridge to stay out of the sun. Five others are still missing, including the Mariely’s husband, Remis David Camblor.
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The boat, named Thor de Higuerote, had left Higuerote in Venezuela for the uninhabited Caribbean island of La Tortuga on September 3. But when they did not arrive on the island or back home, authorities were alerted of their disappearance. Venezuela’s National Maritime Authority INEA explained:
“On September 3 at 9.30am a pleasure boat called Thor left Higuerote for La Tortuga Island with the return scheduled for September 5.”
Following the report, they set out to find the boat, adding:
“Port authorities were informed on September 5 around 11pm it had failed to reach its destination or returned to the location it had left from and a search operation was launched.”
The initial search was unsuccessful until the officials were given a tip that someone had spotted a “white vessel” 70 miles out to sea.
“On September 6 at 6.20pm we were alerted to a small white vessel which was drifting off the island of La Orchila that led to the reorientation of the search operation.”
Thanks to this information, part of the broken ship, which had reportedly split in half once struck by a large wave, was discovered (as seen above), and the 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were rescued, still clinging to their mother, who had already passed away. The authority figure continued:
“On September 7 at 2.10pm four people were rescued, two of them children, by coastguard vessel AB Carecare.”
The little ones were rushed to the hospital to treat dehydration and first-degree burns. There is no word on the nanny’s injuries, but she was rescued alive. The INEA official noted that Mariely had likely just died, sharing:
“She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.”
Wow. So, so tragic. If only the family had been found sooner, she might still be alive today.
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Thankfully, her clever efforts paid off, and she endured long enough to keep her children safe. The official explained:
“The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her own urine.”
Professionals report that Chacón died from organ failure caused by dehydration. A source told local newspaper La República that her vital organs had collapsed due to electrolyte depletion.
The kids are expected to make a full recovery, though they suffered some physical injuries and, understandably, PTSD from the ordeal. A funeral was held for their mother on Saturday, once officials confirmed the children would survive. The search is still ongoing for their father, who was said to be acting as the boat skipper that day, and Jose Javier Marcano Narvaez, Alejandro Osorio Graterol, Vianney Carolina Dos Santos Morales, as well as one other unnamed individual.
Because there was no radio, GPS, or security devices like flares on the ship, officials fear they’re running out of time to find the missing people. Just a reminder to always be prepared for emergencies because you never know when you’ll desperately need help.
We’re thinking of these kids as they cope with their emotional and physical injures, as well as the very untimely death of their mother. Of course, we’re hoping for a safe recovery of the other missing passengers as well.
[Image via Twitter/INEA]