Shipwrecked mum dies at sea after drinking own urine to save her children

A mum-of-two trapped on a boat was forced to drink her own urine so she could keep her children alive by breastfeeding them.

Mariely Chacon, 40, went on a boat trip with family and friends including her six-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and their 25-year-old nanny on September 3.

They left Higuerote in their native Venezuela for the uninhabited Caribbean island of La Tortuga, but never made it.

Disaster struck when a huge wave smashed the hull of the boat, sparking a huge rescue operation after it failed to reach its destination on time.

Four days later an improvised lifeboat was found by the authorities in baking temperatures. Mariely was dead and her children were found clinging to her body.

The nanny was found in a small fridge where she had reportedly hidden in an attempt to stay out of the heat.

Five people including Remis David Camblor – Mariely’s husband and the children’s dad, who was said to be acting as the skipper – remain missing and the hope of finding them is fading.

The children, called Jose David and Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacon, and nanny were rushed to hospital so they could be treated for dehydration and first-degree burns.

They all survived but are thought to be suffering from post-traumatic stress and physical injuries.

Officials confirmed Mariely died from organ failure caused by dehydration. They said she kept her children alive by drinking her own urine so she could breastfeed them.

Three of the other missing people have been named as Jose Javier Marcano Narvaez, Alejandro Osorio Graterol and Vianney Carolina Dos Santos Morales.

Mariely’s funeral took place on Saturday and was broadcast on YouTube, so those who were not able to attend due to coronavirus restrictions could follow it online.

Humberto Chacon, Mariely’s dad, said the boat trip was ‘simply a family trip to entertain the children’.

Venezuela’s National Maritime Authority, INEA, said in a statement: ‘On September 3 at 9.30am a pleasure boat called Thor left Higuerote for La Tortuga Island with the return scheduled for September 5.

‘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.

‘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.

‘On September 7 at 2.10pm four people were rescued, two of them children, by coastguard vessel AB Carecare.

‘We share the pain of the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy.’

A spokesperson added: ‘The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her own urine.

‘She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.’

He admitted their chances of survival would have been higher if the group had a radio, GPS or other measures like flares.

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