Wednesday 22 September 2021

Widow Tells Her Story Of Shipwreck Survival and Seeing Her Dead Husband In The Water

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La argentina Stella Maris Canelo sobrevivió. | KENNETH BARRANTES
Shipwreck survivor Stella Maris Canelo |Photo: Kenneth Barrantes, La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – Stella Maris Canelo lost her husband, Igor Hopkins, without knowing if he had been able to properly put on his life vest.

Stella was one of the 99 passengers on board the Pura Vida Princess that sank Thursday morning in Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

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“The sea was very bad. I told my husband: ‘of all the travels around the world, we’ve never been a boat that moves so much’. ‘Yeah, me neither’, he said, were his last words,” the Argentinian woman told La Nacion.

Both Stella and her husband, a British national, had arrived in Costa Rica on December 30. This was their second visit to Costa Rica.

The woman said that the boat had been swaying for about 20 minutes, when the crew began to hand out life vests. The last time she was with her husband was while they were putting on their vests.

“Five minutes later, I don’t know if my husband managed to get his on, the boat was filled with water, everyone began to save themselves how they could,” she said.

Stella said that the passengers didn’t receive any instructions on the use of the life vest, nor what to do in the emergency, she could only remember the crew yelling at the tourists for everyone to move on one side of the boat.

“I thought I would die. The water reached the roof. We were more than 30 minutes in the water. We had to hold on to what we could to keep from sinking. I looked back to see my husband when I was in the (rescue) boat, he was dead,” she said.

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Canelo was one of the first group to be rescued by a private yacht that arrived at the scene of the shipwreck. There she was, looking at her dead husband, along with Canadian Sharon Johnston (70) and comforted by Tatiana Lopez, who was seven months pregnant.

A phone call from the Los Sueños marina command centre cut the interview. It was the British Embassy contacting now the widowed woman.

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