|Crew Lost at Sea Drank Rainwater to Survive|
|By ANTHONY CASTELLANO (@AntCastellano)||Jul 4, 2013, 3:16 AM|
One of the nine people who were aboard a boat missing at sea for four days off the coast of Honduras said the group survived by using containers and buckets to capture drinking water from two storms.
Tasha Brown, a 20-year-old Canadian, was one of the nine people aboard the missing boat, which was found Wednesday 66 miles west of its intended destination. Brown said the crew had no food and used rainwater from two storms to survive.
"In the middle of the night we hit two storms ... and it just poured and poured," Brown told ABC News overnight. "We flipped over every bucket that we had, ever container, every surface that could catch water. ... [We] prayed that we weren't going to be flipped over by the storm and that we would have water for the next day."
The group, which also included six Hondurans and two Americans, was hoisted by an Army helicopter to safety Wednesday afternoon after the missing boat was located by a Coast Guard aircraft at 10:30 a.m. ET. A Navy helicopter also assisted in the rescue. The survivors were flown to Clearwater, Fla., for treatment.
"They got real excited when they saw the flare go into the water, and the helicopter was on scene within 20 minutes," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Joe Boyes said.
Amber Burkett, 16, was one of the missing Americans on the boat, and ABC News affiliate WGNO-TV was at her mother's home in Louisiana when the two spoke for the first time. "How you doing baby?" her mother, Jackie Capeheart, asked.
"I'm not doing so good," Amber responded.
"I'm sorry baby that I can't get there. I tried. There's no flights out," Capeheart said.
"It's all right. It's all right. At least I get to go home and see you. The whole time I was on the boat I just prayed that I got to tell you I loved you one more time," Amber told her mother.
The group departed Roatan Saturday for Utila Island when the boat, designated a pleasure craft, ran out of gas along the way, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Brown said despite having no gas, she dragged the boat forward by jumping into the water and pulling a rope tied to it.
"And then there would be people on the sides of the boat paddling, and we would just try to make it as fast as we could like that," she said.
U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma said the trip was supposed to be only 18 miles in distance, or about two hours.
"By the time they found them, the search had already covered 4,502 square miles by air," Somma said.
ABC News' Elicia Dover contributed to this report.