Shipwrecked children saved by mother who breastfed them likely orphaned after rescuers say hope of finding survivors ‘minimal’

·2-min read

A maritime agency searching for survivors of a boating tragedy in Venezuela in which a mother kept her two children alive by breastfeeding them says a yellow vest located on a nearby island has a “high probability” of coming from the stricken vessel.

But rescuers say there is “minimal” hope of finding more survivors

Marielys 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.

Disaster struck soon after they departed when a wave smashed the boat’s hull, and those who survived the impact clung to lifeboats for four days in a desperate effort to survive.

Ms Chacón breastfed her two children, Jose David, 6, and 2-year-old Maria Beatriz, while consuming her own urine, according to a spokesman from Venezuela’s National Institute of Aquatic Spaces (INEA).

She tragically died before rescuers could reach the lifeboat, suffering first degree burns and organ failure due to dehydration in the blazing heat.

Her two children were found clinging to their mother’s dead body four days after the shipwreck and were taken to hospital in the capital city Caracas, where they are being treated for first-degree burns, dehydration and post-traumatic stress.

Along with their nanny Verónica Martínez, 25, they are the only known survivors.

“The children made it because the mother breastfed them, she gave them breast milk probably right up until the moment she died,” said the INEA spokesman in an interview.

Their father Remis David Camblor is still missing along with four other people who were onboard, José Marcano, Alejandro Osorio, Vianney Dos Santos, and Juan Manuel Suarez.

It was initially thought only eight people were on board, but the father of Juan Manuel Suarez later confirmed he had also been on the fateful trip.

On Thursday, 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.

Luis Guillermo Inciarte, a spokesman for the National Organization for Salvage and Maritime Safety of Water Spaces Venezuela (ONSA) told Univision “the possibility of getting people alive is minimal”.

Ms Chacón’s father said the voyage had been “simply a family trip to entertain the children,” La República reported.

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