Seattle woman survives Caribbean shipwreck
MIAMI — A Seattle woman and her brother are recounting a terrifying tale from a fishing trip which turned into a 14-hour fight for survival.
Kate Suski was fishing for Marlin with her brother Dan off the coast of St. Lucia on Monday, when their boat began taking on water.
The captain radioed for help as the Suskis strapped on lifejackets when the boat began to sink.
Minutes later the captain and the first mate joined the Suskis in the water as the boat disappeared below the surface.
All four were waiting for rescue in rough seas, but after an hour they decided to swim for the nearest piece of land on the horizon – about 8 miles away.
“We could see land off in the distance and started swimming in that direction, and it would disappear intermittently as we swam,” said Kate Suski to Miami television station WPLG. “We felt the wind behind us and tried to use that as a gauge for direction.”
The Suskis eventually lost sight of the captain and his first mate in the giant swells.
The pair estimated they swam for roughly 14 hours in the cold ocean, fighting off fears of shark attacks and thoughts of hypothermia, before crawling on to a spit of land.
Once on land, they made their way inland, where they slept covered in grass and brush.
The next morning they spotted a farm worker who was walking his dog. The man took them in and gave them food and water until rescuers arrived.
The Suskis were hospitalized for dehydration and treated for cuts and abrasions. Once released from the hospital they recovered in St. Lucia for a few days before meeting family back in Miami on Saturday.
According to local media, the captain and the first mate were rescued after being in the water for nearly 24 hours.
Investigators in St. Lucia were looking into whether there was a problem with the boat which may have contributed to the shipwreck.