'Terrible tragedy': Mum dies after drinking own urine to breastfeed and save kids after shipwreck

Photo: Mariely Chacón saved her children's lives after a shipwreck. Credit: Facebook and Twitter / INEA
Photo: Mariely Chacón saved her children's lives after a shipwreck. Credit: Facebook and Twitter / INEA 

A mother has sacrificed her own life to save her two children by breastfeeding them for days after a shipwreck while she drank her own urine.

The woman, 40-year-old Mariely Chacón from Venezeula, was on a family cruise to Tortuga Island in the Caribbean Sea with her six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter when a large wave split the hull of the vessel.

Adrift with her two children and their nanny, Verónica Martinez, in searing temperatures the desperate mother decided that the only way to save her kids was by drinking her own urine, which allowed her to breastfeed them and keep them hydrated, according to Newsweek

When the children were finally found by the authorities four days later, they were clinging to the body of their mother in a small lifeboat.

"On September 7 at 2.10pm four people were rescued, two of them children, by coastguard vessel AB Carecare," a spokesman for Venezuela's National Maritime Authority (INEA) told the US Sun in a statement.

"We share the pain of the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy," the statement continued.

"The mother who died kept her children alive by breastfeeding them and drinking her own urine. She died three or four hours before the rescue from dehydration after drinking no water for three days."

Five other people who had been aboard the boat, including the father, Remis David Camblo, have not been found.

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The mum's funeral was held in Caracas on September 11 and was broadcast on YouTube due to COVID restrictions.

Many people paid tribute to Chacón's ultimate sacrifice.

"The Virgin of Coromoto is watching Mariely Chacón Marroquin in Caracas. Rest in peace," journalist Laura Castellanos tweeted in Spanish, Newsweek reported.

 "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."

The children and nanny were rushed to hospital so they could be treated for dehydration and first-degree burns, according to the US Sun.