“She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.”
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 24, 2021. It has since been updated.
Mariely Beatríz Chacón Marroquín, her husband, and two children were among nine people who set out on a pleasure cruise aboard the Thor from Higuerote to Tortuga Island off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela on September 3, 2021. During their trip, a wave struck the boat, which broke its hull apart, per New York Post. People on the boat, who survived the impact, were forced to cling to lifeboats in the scorching sun for four days in a desperate effort to survive, reports Independent. Marroquín was desperate to save her children's lives, and she decided the best way to do so would breastfeed them. She began consuming her own urine, so she could produce more milk and feed them during the harrowing ordeal, according to Newsweek.
Unfortunately, the mother died just before rescuers arrived, suffering first-degree burns and organ failure due to dehydration in the blazing heat. Her children were found clinging to her dead body. Their nanny, Verónica Martinez, 25, was found hunkering down in an empty icebox, seeking respite from the searing hot temperatures.
Her two children—identified as Jose David and Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacon— were taken to hospital in the capital city Caracas, where they are being treated for first-degree burns, dehydration, and post-traumatic stress.
“The children made it because the mother breastfed them, she gave them breast milk probably right up until the moment she died,” said a spokesman from Venezuela’s National Institute of Aquatic Spaces in an interview. “She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.”
#7Sep ¡Búsqueda y Salvamento!— INEA (@inea_venezuela) September 7, 2021
Mantenemos activo el caso SAR 024 para encontrar a los 8 pasajeros de la lancha a motor que zarpó desde #Higuerote hasta La Tortuga. Hasta el momento se han rescatado 4 personas, quienes fueron trasladados a la Base naval de La Orchila.@HAbreuMRT pic.twitter.com/cc5AUjOr0L
Five other people who had been aboard the stricken vessel — including the father, Remis David Camblor — have not been found.
Meanwhile, a non-governmental maritime agency searching for any trace of the Thor announced it had located a yellow vest on the island of Klein Curacao which it said had a “high probability” of coming from the boat. However, rescuers say there is “minimal” hope of finding more survivors.
Marroquín's funeral was held in Caracas on September 11, 2021, and it was broadcasted live on YouTube, with several people from all corners of the world joining in. “The Virgin of Coromoto is watching Mariely Chacón Marroquin in Caracas. Rest in peace,” journalist Laura Castellanos tweeted in Spanish.
Esta familia está desaparecida desde el viernes. Salieron de la marina vieja de Pto Encantado, Higuerote, con destino a La Tortuga, lancha Intermarine Z29 THOR— Traffic CARACAS (@traffiCARACAS) September 7, 2021
Remis Camblor, Mariely Chacón, José Camblor, 6años Maria Camblor 2 años y una 3era persona sin identificar.
Another 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.”
Here's hoping Marroquín rests in peace, knowing she died a hero.
Cover Image Source: Twitter | INEA Venezuela (@inea_venezuela)