Download e-book The Friend From Mexico: A True Story of Surviving an Intensive Care Unit

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Skip to content. I was holding on to his jacket, but he kept trying to jump off the boat. Eventually he got away from me. We were yelling at him, but one of the side-effects of hypothermia is that you think you're hot and take off your clothes. He took off his life jacket and just swan-dived into the sea. Will and I were alone. We tried to keep each other going. The sun was coming up and we told each other we were bound to get rescued, but the weather kept getting worse and the waves higher.

The helicopters and planes couldn't see us. We spent the whole day fighting to hold on to each other and the boat. Will was a strong swimmer, and he was able to dive under the boat to get supplies — sports drinks and pretzels — but when he got back he wouldn't eat. He was developing the same symptoms as Corey and Marquis. He didn't get aggressive, just very weak, and I knew it was just a matter of time. I felt helpless. To watch these three athletes, my friends, go out that way, it was the hardest thing.

The Friend From Mexico

But I knew I wasn't going to quit. I tried to keep the image of my mother in my mind — I thought about her attending my funeral. I knew I wanted to live to tell people what had happened. After a few hours on my own, I started hallucinating and caught myself yelling. My heart rate got really slow and it was hard to breathe. I thought about cutting myself, trying to write something on my arm. I just wanted to tell the story. I didn't even see the rescue boat until it was right beside me, and then I couldn't believe it was real.

I had been on my own for 18 hours; in the sea for 43 hours in total. I've thought a lot about why I survived. I was in the best shape of my life, and I was wearing my winter jacket, so I was better insulated. But a lot of it was luck: it could have been any one of those guys. The worst was having to tell them what had happened. But still the search carried on, and I had to sit there in hospital, knowing they wouldn't find anyone alive. I lost roughly 40lbs [18kg], tore my groin and my hip, and the ends of my big toes might always be numb, but that's not a big deal.


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I've had survivor's guilt, particularly at first. And there were lots of rumours afterwards — about us giving up, about inexperienced boating. So I wrote a book, Not Without Hope — not only to honour my friends but to get closure, for myself and for the families.

They've dealt with the grief in their own ways, but I'm the only one who knows the truth. It would be different if I'd been able to save somebody. But to come out of that water on my own, knowing I'd lost three friends — it's very hard. Bahia Bakari was the sole survivor of Yemenia Airways flight , which crashed into the Indian Ocean near the north coast of Grande Comore, in the Comoros islands, on 30 June Suddenly, the lights started flickering, and the passengers became more and more anxious and panicked.

Mummy seemed calm, confident, she was smiling at me. She ran her hand through my hair. I turned my head to the window and pressed my face really hard against it, trying to see what was happening outside. There was a deafening noise of crumpling metal. There were several explosions. I felt a big shudder, like an electric shock, run through my body. It anaesthetised me. Then I didn't feel anything, no pain. I tried to open my eyes. How much time had passed?

How long had I been unconscious? I was in water, underwater. My lungs were blocked up.


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My body drifted up to the surface, I got my head out. I breathed in, at last. My lungs were burning, I was coughing and spitting; my throat was on fire.

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My left eye hurt terribly. My clothes were heavy, my shoes weighed a tonne. I moved my hands and legs to keep my head above water; my shoulder hurt, and my hip. It was a black night, no moon, but I saw four pieces of white debris not far away from me. I managed to swim to one, and tried to climb up on to it. I couldn't stay sat on it; it was smaller and less stable than I thought. And I couldn't pull my legs up; they hurt too much. The waves were huge; three times as tall as my dad. I was exhausted, I just wanted to sleep.

I thought about my mother.

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I thought she must have arrived at the airport by now and be wondering where I was. Give Monthly. Give In Honor. About 10 months ago, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. I was a typical teenager going to school, having fun with all my friends and family and living a happy enthusiastic life.

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The next day, I started vomiting and my vision became blurry. I thought it was part of being a teen. The symptoms just got worse and my mother kept getting suspicious about my health. Another day passed and my mom decided to take me to a doctor nearby.