Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boaters feared no one was searching for them

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A young Canadian woman and eight other boaters who were rescued Wednesday far off the coast of Honduras spent days adrift, thinking no one was looking for them, the woman's mother said.

Tasha Brown, a 20-year-old woman from Grand Forks, B.C., was one of nine boaters -- herself, two Americans and six Hondurans -- who were stranded since Saturday.

Brown's mother, Natalie Zmurchyk, said she spoke with her daughter on a cellphone after the rescue and she is in "fairly good shape."

The group of boaters got into trouble when they realized their fuel supply had run out, Zmurchyk said.

"They didn't think enough to look to make sure if they had enough gas," she said in an interview from her Grand Forks home.

The U.S. Coast Guard hasn't released information on what caused the boat to go adrift and couldn't confirm the boaters ran out of gas.

Zmurchyk said she was "ecstatic" to hear her daughter was safe, but said Brown told her the group thought no one was searching for them. "They would see big cargo ships go by but weren't noticed," Zmurchyk said.

Being adrift at sea was a "soul-searching" experience for the boaters, she said.

"They didn't know if they would make it through this one," she said.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Gabe Somma said the 8.5-metre boat was spotted Wednesday morning about 88 km northwest of Utila, Honduras.

Honduran authorities had searched for the boat since Saturday, but the U.S. Coast Guard became involved on Tuesday after they were alerted to the situation by a family member of the two U.S. citizens.

Brown was in Honduras taking a scuba diving class, but the boat trip on Saturday was just for fun, Zmurchyk said.

She is scheduled to return to Canada on Thursday but Zmurchyk said the flight may be postponed.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2013 A9

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