UPDATE 3: Grand Forks’ Tasha Brown missing in Honduras, found safe

Tasha Brown of Grand Forks, who went missing off the coast of Honduras, has been found alive.

Tasha Brown (left) and mother Natalie Zmurchyk.

Editor’s note: Video of Tasha Brown added.

Tasha Brown of Grand Forks, who went missing off the coast of Honduras last weekend, has been found alive, suffering only from a mild case of dehydration.

Brown, 20, was one of eight who set out Saturday on a boat destined for Roatan, which is considered the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands, and was stranded at sea for about four days after the boat she was on ran out of gas.

“Two people had phones and were checking their cellphone service, we could still see Roatan in the distance, but no one was getting service,” Brown explained from Honduras. “There were no boats around and we were like, ‘What do we do?’ but there wasn’t much we could do so we decided to sleep it off and wait ’til morning.”

Brown said that when she awoke in Sunday morning, they were in the middle of nowhere, in open water.

“In the morning when we first woke up, we were like, ‘Yeah, someone will find us,’ and then we started thinking, ‘We have no water, we have no radio, no flare guns, no paddles, just nothing,” said Brown.

Brown said a rain storm on the third night alleviated the water problem and while she and the others would paddle and steer the boat towards land, they would go to sleep for the night and find themselves in the “middle of nowhere” again when they awoke.

While they did attempt to flag down a number of cargo ships and other vessels, it wasn’t until Wednesday morning when they were found and she said it was thanks to some divine intervention.

“After the fourth night, we were all pretty beat and we realized we couldn’t tow the boat, we couldn’t swim to shore – which I tried to do, which was stupid so I turned back – we couldn’t flag down any boats, any planes and we were like, ‘What are our options? What are we going to do? We’re running out of water. So that morning when I woke up, I said a prayer – God, what do you want me to do? What am I here for?” recounted Brown.

Shortly after, she saw a sail boat and jumped in the water and started pulling the boat to the sail boat and Brown said she didn’t know where she got the strength from. Unfortunately, the sail boat didn’t seem to see her and her crew mates but shortly after though, there was a plane sighting.

While Brown said they had seen a number of planes, this one turned around and circled a number of times before dropping a flair in the water, at which time she knew she was going home.

Natalie Zmurchyk, Brown’s mother, said her daughter was in Honduras since early-May taking a scuba diving course and said the group was found about 97 kilometres west of Roatan and it was the U.S. Coast Guard that found the group.

“The Hondurans and the U.S. were a huge part and I just want to make sure the U.S. is stated in there because without them, they’d still be out there,” she said. “We need to be thankful that they’re coming home safe and well.”

As for Brown, while she suffered from dehydration, she feels like a “champ” now.

“I woke up (Thursday) morning, brushed my teeth twice. Everything tastes better; I dreamed about ice cream every single night so I went out and got an ice cream cone for breakfast,” Brown said with a laugh.

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