It was the right decision. Shortly after, a fishing boat pulled up with her husband and several other relatives looking for the victims.
“I just cried and cried,” she said.
In another part of the straits, Yoskeili said she had begun to hallucinate as she floated in the water, at one point thinking she had reached land.
She eventually fell unconscious floating near other passengers, as some were swept farther out to sea by currents. Two days later, she said she could feel the thudding of an engine in the water. A rescue boat arrived and dragged her aboard.
Back on shore, Mr. Díaz was convinced that his daughter had died.
But the same day the women were found alive on Patos Island, an ambulance with more survivors whooshed by. A fishing boat had found his daughter, Oriana, in the water, still breathing, near the wreckage.
“A boy said, ‘Professor, your daughter is here,’” Mr. Díaz said.
Oriana sat in the hospital bed, with gashes in her arms, her face and lips so burned from her days in the sun that she could hardly speak. She had no pants, having lost them at sea.
“She could have been missing an arm or a leg, but my daughter was alive,” said Mr. Díaz. He put a blanket around her as she asked for water.
“Just to think of this once more is to feel this agony and to know how one will never forget these times,” he said.