07/03/2013 11:35 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Nine missing boaters, including Canadian, rescued off the coast of Honduras

A young Canadian woman and eight other boaters who were rescued Wednesday far off the coast of Honduras spent days adrift, thinking no one was looking for them, the woman's mother said.

Tasha Brown, a 20-year-old woman from Grand Forks, B.C., was one of nine boaters — herself, two Americans and six Hondurans — who were stranded since Saturday.

Brown's mother, Natalie Zmurchyk, said she spoke with her daughter on a cellphone after the rescue and she is in "fairly good shape."

The group of boaters got into trouble when they realized their fuel supply had run out, Zmurchyk said.

"They didn't think enough to look to make sure if they had enough gas," she said in an interview from her Grand Forks home.

The U.S. Coast Guard hasn't released information on what caused the boat to go adrift and couldn't confirm the boaters ran out of gas.

Zmurchyk said she was "ecstatic" to hear her daughter was safe, but said Brown told her the group thought no one was searching for them.

"They would see big cargo ships go by but weren't noticed," Zmurchyk said.

Being adrift at sea was a "soul-searching" experience for the boaters, she said, adding that Brown prayed she would be rescued.

"They didn't know if they would make it through this one," she said.

Zmurchyk said she was relieved to find out the group had only run out of water on Wednesday, thanks to a rain storm that allowed them to fill up buckets on the boat.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Gabe Somma said the 8.5-metre boat was spotted Wednesday morning about 88 kilometres northwest of Utila, Honduras.

Honduran authorities had been searching for the boat since Saturday, but the U.S. Coast Guard became involved on Tuesday after they were alerted to the situation by a family member of the two U.S. citizens.

Somma said the group intended to travel from Roatan to Utila, a trip of under 30 kilometres. Shortly after departure, though, the boat got stranded on a reef, he said. After receiving help from Honduran authorities, the boaters were able to get underway, but then never arrived at their destination, Somma said.

The search for the boaters, which spanned more than 11,600 square kilometres, involved the Honduran navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and aircraft attached to the U.S. Southern Command in Honduras.

A U.S. army helicopter rescued the nine boaters and medical personnel were on hand to treat them for dehydration.

Somma couldn't confirm if anyone was sent to hospital.

Zmurchyk describes the search for her daughter as "looking for a needle in a haystack."

"People all over the world were praying for them," she said, adding that she's grateful for the public support during the search.

Brown was in Honduras taking a scuba diving class, but the boat trip on Saturday was just for fun, Zmurchyk said.

She is scheduled to return to Canada on Thursday but Zmurchyk said the flight may be postponed.