A marine biologist student who was swept off the coast of Honduras on Friday managed to survive being lost at sea for over 16 hours.
Heather Barnes, who studies at the New College of Florida, was on a school trip when she decided to go for an early morning swim. However, during her expedition to collect some coral, her leg became cramped and the tide started to pull her further and further away from dry land.
Thus began a hellish 16-hour saga that featured Barnes being stung by jellyfish, hallucinating due to her lack of hydration, and being stuck by severe sunburn.
However, despite her tumultuous experience, Barnes managed to remain cognitive enough to make it back to shore alive, all by herself.
Barnes couldn’t sleep on the last day of her trip, so she decided to take out her snorkel to collect coral samples, an activity that she had done every morning.
However, as she swam around Cayo Grande, she started to experience an excruciating cramp in her leg and stomach, which was then exacerbated by the currents of the ocean which pushed her further and further out to sea.
Barnes decided that it would be easier if she just stayed in the same position so that her group would notice that she was missing and then send out the lifeguard to save her.
However, after two hours, it became apparent that there was no rescue coming for her so she began to swim back. Sixteen hours later, she finally made it back to land, and she told ABC News that despite feeling exhausted she kept on persevering with her endeavor to get out of the water.
Sandra Gilchrist, who was supervising the trip, had noticed that Ms. Barnes was missing when she didn’t arrive for breakfast at 7.30 am, and, 20 minutes later, a search and rescue troop was searching for her in the water.
How long could you survive being lost at sea?