Woman stranded at sea 16 hours; swims to shore - KMSP-TV

Woman stranded at sea 16 hours; swims to shore

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Heather Barnes posted this photo of herself with burn cream on her face on her Facebook page. Heather Barnes posted this photo of herself with burn cream on her face on her Facebook page.

A college student from southern New Jersey says she was stranded at sea for 16 hours while swimming off Honduras and is now safe.

Heather Barnes went to collect coral samples for a project she's doing at New College of Florida at 4 a.m. Friday. She says she started to cramp and got pushed out to sea.

Writing on her Facebook page, Barnes says she realized she had to swim to try to reach safety.

Barnes wrote:  "I try to stay in the same spot thinking people will search for me soon, but after two hours I still didn't see anyone. I re...alize if I'm going to make it I have to swim back myself, so 16 hours after I had started, and many blisters and sunburn, jellyfish stings, and hallucinations from dehydration, I made it to Lion's head on our island and collapsed on the shore where two locals carried me and gave me water and kayaked me back to the resort where people poured from every building and hugged and kissed me."

She says that two national government, coast guards, scuba divers, kayakers and locals were all involved in a search to locate her but were in searching in the wrong direction.

Barnes is in Florida recovering from sunburn and jellyfish stings.  She says she's ready to take a break from the beach for a while.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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