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Brooklyn Woman Survives Almost 2 Days in River in Guyana

The New York Times reported that a 48-year-old Brooklyn woman survived almost two days floating in a Guyanese river and said thoughts of seeing her 19-year-old daughter again were what kept her alive.
The woman, Sherry Haynes, was born in Guyana. She was stranded in the Coretyne River on Oct. 24 after the water taxi she was riding apparently got caught on a fishing net and capsized.
Haynes was in Guyana to spread her brother’s ashes along Guyana’s rivers, as he had wished. The trip along the Corentyne, which separates Guyana and the neighboring South American country of Suriname, was supposed to last only 20 minutes.
Six people died in the accident, including her sister and a nephew, also from New York. A crew member on the boat also survived.
“My husband told me he would have given up after the first night, but I am not like that,? Haynes said on Saturday. “At nights I drifted to Suriname, and in the day to Guyana, and then back again. The tides were very strong.?
Haynes said prayer kept her going. She said she realized people were out searching for her when she saw police boats in the river.
“But none came close to me,? she said. “I saw them in the distance.?
Approximately 36 hours after the boat capsized, Haynes washed up on a sandbank. A cattle herder rescued her, gave her food and called the authorities.
While she was waiting for rescue, friends and relatives were gathering fuel, firewood and white linen in preparation for cremating her body.
Haynes’s sister Sheila Gonsalves, a retired public education manager; her nephew Henry Gonsalves, who worked as an intensive-care unit technician at NewYork-Presbyterian; and a friend traveling with them were killed.
“I never in my wildest dreams anticipated that this was what I was coming for, for all these funerals,? Haynes said.