On September 3, a pleasure cruise capsized, leaving a mother and her two children floating off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela. The mother, Marielys Beatríz Chacón Marroquín, breastfed her children, ages six and two, for four days to keep them alive.
Nine people were aboard the boat. They initially set out on the boat Thor for a recreational trip from Higuerote to La Tortuga island. The boat had an electrical failure. After they made the repair, the maritime agency searching for survivors believes the boat was caught in a big wave that ripped the boat in two.
To keep her children alive, Chacón Marroquín drank her own urine to continue breastfeeding her children. By the time rescuers found their lifeboat over 70 miles from shore, the heroic mother had passed due to first degree burns and organ failure from dehydration in the heat.
The children have been taken to the capital city Caracas and are being treated for first-degree burns, dehydration and post-traumatic stress. The only other known survivor at this time is their 25-year-old nanny Verónica Martínez.
A spokesman from Venezuela's National Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA) said:
"The children made it because the mother breastfed them, she gave them breast milk probably right up until the moment she died."
Others, including their father Remis David Camblor, have yet to be be found.
The few remaining passengers include José Marcano, Alejandro Osorio, Vianney Dos Santos and Juan Manuel Suarez.
The INEA officials say there is very little chance of finding them.
Journalist Laura Castellanos tweeted in Spanish:
"The Virgin of Coromoto is watching Mariely Chacón Marroquin in Caracas."
"Rest in peace."
Another Twitter user wrote:
"I did not have the privilege of meeting you."
"Your last days of life speak a lot about what was in your beautiful heart, you are a being of light in eternity."
Many people sent their prayers to save anyone else who might still be lost at sea.
Thought the National Organization for Salvage and Maritime Safety of Water Spaces Venezuela (ONSA) told Univision "the possibility of getting people alive is minimal."
Chacón Marroquín's father said the voyage had been "simply a family trip to entertain the children."
Her funeral was held and live streamed on September 11.