On September 3, Mariely Chacon, 40, went on a boat trip with her six-year-old son, two-year-old daughter, and their 25-year-old nanny. They set out from Higuerote in Venezuela for La Tortuga, an uninhabited Caribbean island, but never arrived. After the boat failed to arrive at its destination on time, disaster struck when a massive wave smashed the hull, resulting in a massive rescue operation.
Authorities discovered an improvised lifeboat four days later in scorching temperatures. Mariely was found dead, with her children clinging to her body.
The nanny was discovered in a small refrigerator, where she had reportedly hidden to avoid the heat.
Remis David Camblor, Mariely's husband and the children's father, who was said to be acting as the skipper, is among the five people still missing, and hope of finding them is fading.
The children, Jose David, and Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacon, as well as their nanny, were rushed to the hospital with dehydration and first-degree burns.
They all survived, but they are believed to be suffering from PTSD and physical injuries.
Mariely died of dehydration-induced organ failure, according to officials. She allegedly kept her children alive by drinking her urine and breastfeeding them.
Jose Javier Marcano Narvaez, Alejandro Osorio Graterol, and Vianney Carolina Dos Santos Morales are the names of three other people who have gone missing.
Mariely's funeral was held on Saturday and was streamed live on YouTube for those who were unable to attend owing to coronavirus restrictions.
Mariely's father, Humberto Chacon, described the boat trip as "just a family trip to delight the kids."
Venezuela’s National Maritime Authority, INEA, said in a statement: ‘On September 3 at 9.30 am 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 11 pm 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 6.20 pm, 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.’
Picture: Mariely Chacon
‘On September 7 at 2.10 pm four people were rescued, two of them children, by coastguard vessel AB Care care.’
‘We share the pain of the families of the victims of this tragedy.’
A spokesperson added: ‘The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her urine.'
‘She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.’
He admitted that having a radio, GPS, or other safety measures such as flares would have increased their chances of survival.