people in life raft adrift in water
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
January 2, 2024 ·  4 min read

Mom Who Kept Children Alive by Breastfeeding Them After Boat Accident, Died | She Drank Her Own Pee to Save Her Kids

A boat trip to an uninhabited island sounds like a fun little family outing, doesn’t it? In September 2021, that’s exactly what the Chacon family in Venezuela set out to do. Unfortunately, their fun family boat trip turned into a terrible and tragic accident. When a powerful wave struck and destroyed their boat, the mother had no choice but to drink her own urine in order to produce breast milk to keep her children alive. Sadly, she died just hours before being rescued.

Mom Sacrifices Herself To Save Her Children In Boat Accident

Mariely Chacón and her two children
Mariely Chacón | Facebook

The Chacon family started off their day on September 3, 2021, with excitement. They were going on a boat ride from Higuerote to Tortuga Island. It is an uninhabited, tropical island in the Caribbean. Onboard the boat, named Thor, was mom Mariely Chacon, father Remis David Camblor, and their two children. Rescuers have since identified the children as six-year-old Jose David Camblor Chacon and two-year-old Maria Beatriz Camblor Chacon. Their nanny, 25-year-old Veronica Martinez, was also on board. (1)

During their trip, a massive, powerful wave struck their boat. The wave broke apart the hull of the boat. It is unclear what happened to everyone on the boat and whether or not the whole group even survived the impact of the wave. There were four other people including Remis David who were not found.

Read: ‘I’m not going to let you die’: Pregnant mother rescues 3 girls from drowning in Lake Michigan

Clinging To Life

Mom Mariely, her two children, and the nanny were left clinging to a lifeboat. They floated in the blazing sun for nearly four whole days. With no food, water, or idea of when they’d be rescued, Mariely was desperate to save her children’s lives. The 40-year-old mother knew that one way she could potentially help her children was by breastfeeding them. Dehydrated herself, she resorted to drinking her own urine in order to continue to produce milk for her children.

Unfortunately, breastfeeding her own children dehydrated her even more. Authorities finally spotted the lifeboat at 6:20 pm on the 6th, but couldn’t reach the survivors until the next day at 2:10 pm. Sadly, Mariely died of organ failure due to dehydration just hours before. The rescuers found her two children clinging to her dead body.

“The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her own urine,” an INEA spokesman said. “She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days.”

The Greatest Sacrifice

Mariely’s autopsy showed organ failure due to dehydration. Her body also suffered from first degree burns. Her children, too, had first degree burns due to the length of time they were out in the sun for. Authorities found the nanny taking refuge from the sun in a nearby icebox. Though Mariely died, thanks to her, her children lived. Rescuers took them to the hospital to treat them for dehydration, first-degree burns, and post-traumatic stress. They have yet to find the other passengers, including Mariely’s husband and the children’s father. The authorities have said that they have very low expectations for finding them alive if they find them at all.

People are hailing Mariely a hero. A devoted mother until the end, she sacrificed her own self and her own hydration to keep her children alive. Her funeral was a big event. They held it in the capital city of Caracas and it was broadcast on YouTube so that others could pay their respects to the hero-mom as well.

“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. (2)

Public Reaction

As already mentioned, the public is hailing this mother as a hero. Many people posted on Twitter and other social media channels about Mariely. They all want her family to know how much they respect and think the world of the woman.

“The Virgin of Coromoto is watching Mariely Chacón Marroquin in Caracas. Rest in peace,” journalist Laura Castellanos tweeted. (3)

“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.” wrote another Twitter user.

We can only hope that her children will grow up knowing how much their mom loved them. 

Keep Reading: Missing Teen Rescued After Making SOS Hand Gesture She Learned from TikTok


  1. Shipwrecked mother dies at sea after drinking own urine to save kids.” NY Post. Yaron Steinbuch. September 16, 2021
  2. Rescuers discovered 2 shipwrecked children clinging to their dead mother, who had saved their lives by drinking her urine to breastfeed them.” Insider. Sophia Ankel. September 18, 2021.
  3. Shipwrecked children saved by mother who breastfed them likely orphaned after rescuers say hope of finding survivors ‘minimal’.” Independent. Bevan Hurley. September 17, 2021.