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Drownings in Costa Rica

2018 ~

9/20 - U.S. Couple Drowned in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Read more

9/16 - Water Accidents in Costa Rica. - Read more

8/16 - US Tourist Drowned in Dominical, Osa, Costa Rica - Read more

7/23 - Foreigner Drowns in Cahuita, Limon. Read more

4/27 - Tourist Dies While Snorkeling in Guanacaste Costa Rica. Read more

4/26 - 8 Year Old Swiss Boy Drowns in La Fortuna de San Carlos Costa Rica. Read more

3/20 - Search Continues For Dad Swallowed By The Sea After Saving His Son From Drowned. Read more

2/3 - U.S. Tourists Drowns in Montezuma, Costa Rica. Read more


12/27 - East Texas youth pastor dies saving boy and father in Costa Rica. Read more

12/18 - 47 Year Old Man Drowns in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica. Read more

9/27 - Lack of Lifeguards in Costa Rica Causing Risky Beaches. Read more

9/25 - Drownings are Second Cause of Accidental Deaths in Costa Rica. Read more

8/10 - Tourists Lose Son to Pool Drowning in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Read more

5/8 - Teenager Drowns in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, two Others are Missing. Read more

4/12 - Family sues over North Cobb High student's drowning in Belize. Read more

4/3 - US Tourists Sailing Near Golfito Rescued by Costa Rican Coast Guard. Read more

3/16 - Costa Rica is one of Three Countries Which Offers Training in Aquatic Rescue for Surfers. Read more

- Canadian Rugby Player Drowns at Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa Beach. Read more

2/21 - Red Top restaurant owner drowns while on vacation in Costa Rica. Read more

1/18 - Expat Drowns, Another Hurt in Waterfall Near Liberia, Costa Rica. Read more


2016 ~

9/15 - Lifeguards Lobby for Funds for 300 More Positions in Costa Rica. Read more

8/10 - 3 members of Atascocita family drown in Costa Rica. Read here

8/10 - Proposed Legislation to Help Keep Swimmers Safe in Sámara and Nosara. Read more

8/9 - Wildcat Guarded Body of Drowned U.S. Child in Costa Rica. Read more

8/5 - Three U.S. Tourists Drown During Flash Flooding in Costa Rica Read more

7/16 - U.S. Tourist Saves Man from Drowning in Costa Rica. Read more

5/27 - US Tourist Drowns in Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast Read more

3/23 - Vacation brain’ at the beach can be deadly Read more

2/2 - US tourist drowns on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Read more

1/25 - Thirteen Costa Ricans drown in Nicaragua after boat captain ignores weather warning, captain survived and was later arrested. Read more

1/25 - No Weather Warning Issued in Tour Boat Tragedy. Read more

1/7 - Lifeguards Will be Posted at Seven Beaches in Costa Rica. Read more



0/6 - Inside Costa Rica

The body of 71-year-old George Vincent, a physician from the United States, was recovered after being found floating in the sea in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, after bystanders notified authorities of the emergency.

Red Cross personnel transported Vincent to a medical facility in Filadelfia, where after several attempts of resuscitation, the man was pronounced dead.

Authorities said it was not clear what led to Vincent’s drowning.  Vincent’s body was taken to the coroner’s office in Liberia for examination.

4/21 - Tico Times:

The Costa Rican Red Cross found the body of 18-year-old Felipe Castro Espinoza, a nephew of current Environment Minister René Castro, Friday, the day after he was caught in a wave at a beach in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya Peninsula, La Nación reports.

The younger Castro disappeared at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday after he and six relatives were caught in a riptide wave. Rescuers pulled out six of the the beach-goers from the ocean, and transported them to a hospital. Castro’s body was found 6:12 a.m. on the beach’s shore.

René Castro confirmed the incident Thursday to La Nación. “It was my nephew who didn’t reappear,” Castro said. “He was together with his other brothers and cousins.”

The Red Cross also recovered the body of 40-year-old Rafael Ángel Solano Carranza, who disappeared from another Nicoya Peninsula beach, Punta Morales.

Riptides are a recurrent cause of misfortune on Costa Rica’s beaches. Earlier in the week, oceanographers at the National University broadcast a riptide report for the Easter Holy Week and asked travelers to take extreme caution during this week’s vacations.

4/19 - Tico Times:

The Red Cross made 20 water rescues from the country’s beach this week and recovered seven drowned bodies, including the body of 18-year-old Felipe Castro Espinoza, the nephew of current Environment Minister René Castro. Three of the drowning victims were children.

1/6/14 - from Inside Costa Rica

January 6th, 2014 ( Ricardo Montoya Espinoza, 24 drowned in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste on Saturday.  Montoya was a resident of Cartago.

The man and a 15-year-old boy had entered the water to wash sand from their shorts at around 5:30 pm, when a strong current combined with a rising tide quickly overcame the pair.

Other tourists on the beach were able to rescue the teen, but Montoya had disappeared.

Searchers later recovered Montoya’s body several meters offshore at around 8:30 pm.

In December, a total of 10 people were killed in water-related accidents at beaches, rivers, or lakes in the country – three of them minors.


8/28/13 - from

October 28th, 2013 ( A French tourist, identified as 59-year-old Jean Pierre Maurice Bomvallo, drowned on Sunday morning in front of the La Princesa hotel in Tortuguero, Limon.

According to reports, the man and his girlfriend had been staying in the area for several days.

Authorities said the man was apparently taken under by a strong wave, and though minutes later bystanders were able to pull the man from the water, he could not be resuscitated.

The man’s body will be transferred to the coroner to determine the official cause of death.


4/2/13 - from the Tico Times:

Costa Rica’s Red Cross reported that a total of 32 people died during Easter Holy Week, 10 deaths more than in 2012. Of that number, 12 people died during armed assaults, up from two deaths last year. Five people died as a result of drowning, three less than in 2012. Traffic accidents resulted in 13 deaths. Four people died from various causes, including poisoning and burns. Red Cross officials also reported that more than 20 people were rescued from drowning on beaches and rivers, and another 70 were sent to hospitals from various other causes.

3/4/13 - U.S. national rents car and drowns
Published in Diario Extra

Daniel Harley, aged 52 died while swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Villa Leonor, Osa. He is said to have rented a car, drove to the destination, enjoyed a meal and then drown after deciding to go for a swim. His body was sent to the Forensic Science Complex and the U.S. embassy was notified.


Playa Esterillos Community Info Site & Blog

1/25/13 - I just want to express my extreme sadness for the loved ones of the man who died on the beach today. I can only imagine the sorrow of the close friends who had to bear witness as well. To the family of a man I only know as Max our prayers and condolences are with you.

U.S. man disappears on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast

Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - By L. Arias
Rescue crews launch search operation in the area.

A San Antonio, Texas man went missing Saturday after he was pulled out to sea by a wave off in Punta Uva beach, in the Caribbean province of Limón.

Police officers said Brian Maltez, 39, disappeared on December 29, at around 8:30 a.m. after he went for a swim with a friend.

Official reports state Maltez, who was apparently vacationing in Costa Rica, was with a woman who saw him disappear, but nobody else was around to help.

Neighbors, police officers, Red Cross rescue crews and Coast Guard boats are carrying out a search operation in a radius of some 20 kilometers from Cocles to Manzanillo beaches.


2012-08-17, 12:00:00

Gringo drowned in high seas
Published in Diario Extra

A strong storm surge and rough surf on Sombrero Beach in Puerto Jimenez, Osa is blamed for claiming the life of U.S. national, Alfred Kobe Storay, age 45. Storay, his wife and one of his children were dragged into the open ocean by strong currents. Although the other swimmers managed to get back to shore, the victim never resurfaced after being pulled under the water. The National Emergency Commission has declared an alert in the area where waves have reached 3 meters high.

7/6/12 - Diario Extra

The turbulent waters of Playa Hermosa refuse to return the body of Michael Fernandez Serrano, 22, who disappeared in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday morning. Yesterday from 6 am to dusk an army of people from guards, fishermen, family, neighbors, and police sought him cruzrojistas every corner, but was unable to find it.

For now we hope for better luck and the sea it back for burial.

Fernandez entered the sea minutes after arriving at the beach with his cousin Greivin Serrano Calvo and his friend Samuel Jarquin.

They were taking a dip and water was not reaching them or to the waist when they began to feel that the sea washed the sand beneath your feet.

Little did they know that the pleasure of bathing in the sea would become tragedy. From time to time a wave separated and dragged out to sea, where it touched bottom.

All three fought for their life. Two managed to escape, but Fernandez could not. They looked around and did not find him. The sea swallowed him.


3/9/12 - Tico Times letter to the editor - Couple Wants to Thank Good Samaritans

Dear Tico Times: On Feb. 27 at Playa Esterillos Oeste, on the Central Pacific coast, my girlfriend, Eileen Arroyo, and I were caught in a riptide and swept out to sea. We managed to hold hands in the turbulent currents while being dragged far out to deep waters. We lost all hope of survival. Eileen did not know how to swim, and I was totally exhausted from keeping her afloat. We both knew that death was certain. Then, an angel sent two surfers and an off-duty lifeguard, who risked their lives to save us, total strangers. They swam like dolphins, and with unbelievable knowledge of the currents were able to save us. We must get in touch with these brave souls who saved our lives. Please help us contact them – all that we have is a photo (see photo above). One is a tall, young man with Rasta hair – the lifeguard, with an orange and yellow long board – another has long, curly hair, and a third was a skinny, bronze-toned guy with a yellow short board. We need to send them some form of thanks. Pat Gangitano Massapequa Park, New York, U.S.

What we want to prevent

4/12/12 - From the Tico Times:

Eight people died from drownings in oceans or rivers. According to the Red Cross, 24 people were rescued from drowning. 

2/21/12 - From AM Costa Rica

Three ocean incidents result in as many deaths

The Pacific waters have been dangerous for at least three persons visiting them in the month of February. So far, one Costa Rican drowned while swimming, an Englishman had a heart attack while snorkeling and an American returned to his residence after skin diving and died from breathing complications.

The Costa Rican, Giovanni Solano Obando, was 33 years old and vacationing with friends at Matapalo in Aquirre, Puntarenas, when he and two others companions were swept to sea by a wave Saturday evening, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas in that sector reports. Two of the men were able to leave the ocean with help from others on the beach, but Solano drowned. His body was recovered shortly thereafter.

An Englishman identified by the Judicial Investigating Organization as Jonathan Fields also died from a water-related incident only a day earlier, Friday. Authorities say the man was snorkeling near Isla del Caño, about 15 miles off the Osa peninsula when he suffered a heart attack and died. He was transported by boat to a nearby hospital but could not be resuscitated. He was 74 years old, agents report.

Earlier this month, an American man, identified as 70-year-old John Rutledge, died Feb. 2 after SCUBA diving in Playas del Coco. He had returned to his residence after participating in the activity and began having difficulties breathing, according to Cruz Roja workers in Sardinal. A friend who was with Rutledge called for emergency help. Paramedics say when they arrived Rutledge could not breath so they transported him to the Sardinal clinic. He was dead upon arrival.

11/8/11 - Water deaths are increasing at a rapid annual pace

By Andrew Rulseh Kasper of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With two months remaining in the year, the number of water-related deaths in the country have already surpassed by a large margin those from 2010, marking what local authorities are calling an unusually dangerous year for swimmers.

From January through October, more than 92 people have died in rivers and oceans in Costa Rica compared with 76 people in all of 2010, according to Cruz Roja statistics. The deaths have occurred principally in Guanacaste and Puntarenas, with more than 30 in the latter.

Freddy Román, a spokesperson for Cruz Roja, said in an effort to curtail the growing problem the volunteer organization has stepped up staffing levels at its rescue centers in those areas and is attempting to spread the word about safe swimming practices in the ocean.

“We don’t know exactly why this year is particularly dangerous,” Román said. “But we think it may have to do with lack of preventative measures.”

He said tourists, national and international, characterize one of the larger demographic groups of victims. And with the elevated tourist weeks of December and November still to come, the death toll could increase even more dramatically if similar trends persist.

One of the most recent casualties was Rhiannon Hull, 34, of Healdsburg, California. Ms. Hull was swimming with her 6-year-old son Julian a little over a week ago in Avellanas Beach, a secluded strip in the Guanacaste province, when they were swept out into deep waters.

Ms. Hull was able to keep her son afloat until surfers arrived, but after handing him over, she drowned. Her body was recovered two days later by the Costa Rican Guardacostas six nautical miles away from where the incident occurred.

Ms. Hull’s husband, Norman, speculated that his wife, an able athlete and runner, was caught off guard by the current or reached a drop-off and unexpectedly found herself with the 6-year-old child struggling to swim. He said the tragedy should be a warning to anyone entering the ocean.

“It was a completely flat day,” Hull said. “She didn’t expect anything to happen or she wouldn’t have taken my son out there. There needs to be education about what the risks are.”

Hull said his wife of nine years was in the process of opening a Waldorf school in the Tamarindo area when the accident occurred. He was in California with their other child and planned to join her in mid-month.

He said the incident could have been twice as fatal and cost the son his life as well had Rhiannon Hull not been able to keep his head above water.

“If she hadn’t been so strong, my son would have died,” he said. “She gave up her life for my son.” A coast guard commander, Óscar Rodríguez, emphasized that a seemingly innocuous beach like Avellanas, and many others along the Costa Rican coastlines, may not be as safe as they appear. He said lack of lifeguards or other beach-goers within earshot can make it difficult to receive aid in case of an emergency and that the presence of strong undercurrents or large waves can catch even someone wading in shallow water off guard.

He surmised a similar scenario played out with Rhiannon Hull. “It’s a very dangerous beach,” he said. “It’s not safe for the swimmers. It has a strong, strong current and no lifeguards.”

A similar scenario played out Saturday night at Playa Agujas north of Jacó on the central Pacific coast. A 27-year-old man identified by the last name of Murillo died when he and a woman companion were taken by a wave about 8:30 p.m. said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The woman managed to save herself, but friends and family did not find Murillo's body until 1 a.m. Sunday.


11/4/11 - Tico TImes - digital edition - A United States citizen swimming with her 6-year-old child at Playa Avellanas on the Pacific coast of Guanacaste province drowned after being swept out to sea by an ocean current, officials said. Rhiannon Joy Hull, 33, was swimming with her child last Friday when she was caught by a current and carried away, said Monica Chavarría, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Investigation Police.

Swimmers nearby saw that Hull was in trouble and responded, Chavarría said. The swimmers rescued the child, but they could not reach Hull. Her body was recovered Sunday by the Costa Rican Coast Guard approximately two miles out to sea off of Playa Flamingo, north of Playa Avellanas.

Hull's children are with their father, Norman Hull, Chavarría said. Ancel Mitchell, administrator of The Sea Heart School in Playa Negra, also in Guanacaste, said Hull moved to Costa Rica in September of this year with her two children to teach at a private kindergarten in Playa Avellanas.

Mitchell, said Hull, “seemed a very motivated, capable, enthusiastic and clear young woman.” According to the Red Cross of Costa Rica, 92 drownings have occurred in Costa Rica so far in 2011. In 2010, 76 drownings were reported.

6/18?/11 - Two swimmers were the latest drowning victims, this time at Playa Langosta near Tamarindo. The couple, both in their 20s, were guests at the Hotel Barceló and were swept away while wading in the surf. From the Tamarindo News - Tamarindo Lifeguard program needs reviving.






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