The heartbreaking incident unfolded on September 3 when Mariely Chacón, her husband, their two children- 6-year-old son Jose David, and 2-year-old daughter Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacón- and their nanny went on a pleasure cruise from Higuerote to Tortuga Island in the Caribbean.
A mother from Venezuela is being hailed a hero for giving up her life in an attempt to keep her children alive. What was meant to be "simply a family trip to entertain the children" turned out disastrous for Mariely Chacón and her family. The heartbreaking situation unfolded on September 3 when Chacón, her husband, their two children- 6-year-old son Jose David, and 2-year-old daughter Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacón- and their nanny went on a pleasure cruise from Higuerote to Tortuga Island in the Caribbean. There were a total of eight people aboard the boat Thor, which was headed to the uninhabited island, according to Newsweek. There was another boat traveling in the same route with them, per The Independent.
A few minutes after the party left for the island of La Tortuga, an electrical fault in one of the boats prompted them to pause briefly. After repairs, the group set out to their destination once again, when a large wave hit and split the boat's hull apart. This left the group exposed to the harsh elements of nature for four days. Their situation was dire as they spent four days adrift on a lifeboat, floating 70 miles out at sea, under the scorching heat of the sun. At this point, all Chacón could think about was to keep her son and daughter alive. Thus, she decided to breastfeed them so they didn't starve to death.
#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
In order to sustain herself, the mother-of-two drank her own urine, which also allowed her to breastfeed her kids, revealed officers. While she managed to keep her kids alive until help arrived, she tragically passed away due to severe heatstroke and dehydration. "The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her own urine," revealed a spokesman for Instituto Nacional de los Espacios Acuáticos (INEA), according to the New York Post. "She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days."
Venezuela’s National Maritime Authority INEA said the lifeboat was seen drifting off the island of La Orchila at around 6:20 p.m. on September 6. It was around 2:10 p.m. the following day that the coast guard vessel AB Carecar reached the craft. When the rescue team arrived at the location, four days later, they found the kids clinging onto their mother's lifeless body in a small lifeboat. Authorities transported them to a hospital in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, where they are currently being treated for their first-degree burns, dehydration, and post-traumatic stress.
#8Sep SAR 024— INEA (@inea_venezuela) September 9, 2021
La búsqueda no se ha detenido. Estamos activos por aire y mar con helicópteros de la PNB Acuática/CICPC, rescatistas de Bomberos Marinos y Miranda, patrulleros de Guardacostas, aviones de SAR Maiquetía.Hasta el momento no se tiene localización de los 4 desaparecidos pic.twitter.com/uFOovokt7f
The 25-year-old nanny of the children, Veronica Martinez, was also found alive hunkering down in an empty icebox to escape the sweltering temperature. She has since been hospitalized and is being treated for a high level of dehydration, first-degree burns, lethargy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Martinez reportedly had a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, delirium, fever, and dry wrinkled skin due to sunburns. Per El Diario, she had to be sedated. But authorities haven't found the children's father Remis David Camblor and four others- Vianney Dos Santos, José Marcano, Alejandro Osorio, and the boat's skipper, Camblor. While they continue searching for them, the INEA official said the chances of finding them are quite low.
A forensic medicine source told La República that Chacón suffered organ failure due to the electrolyte depletion which was caused by dehydration. Apparently, her critical condition was possibly accelerated as she was breastfeeding. A funeral was held in Caracas on September 11 to pay tribute to Chacón who heroically sacrificed her own life. "The Virgin of Coromoto is watching Mariely Chacón Marroquin in Caracas. Rest in peace," expressed journalist Laura Castellanos on Twitter in Spanish. Another 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."
#7Sep #AVANCE Caso SAR 024— INEA (@inea_venezuela) September 8, 2021
Con el apoyo de @AB_Guardacostas, @capiptolaguaira y los Bomberos Marinos fueron trasladadas, atendidas con primeros auxilios e ingresadas al Periférico de Pariata en La Guaira las personas encontradas en alta mar este martes.#LaTortuga #Higuerote pic.twitter.com/R4DVBHYP8L
Cover image source: Twitter | INEA