A 24-year old man who had been missing after being dragged into the ocean by strong currents was found by divers in Playas del Coco hours later. This is the latest report of a fatal drowning in the beaches of Guanacaste, a region that is heavily visited by swimmers, surfers and vacationers from around the world, and it serves as a reminder that strong rip currents are an ever-present danger in Costa Rica.
The incident occurred on Saturday evening, less than two hundred meters from theFuerza Publica (Costa Rica’s national police force) station in Playas del Coco on the boardwalk. Two young swimmers, one aged 15 and the other 24, were enjoying the surf when they were caught in a rip current. According to news reports by television network Teletica Channel 7, the younger swimmer was rescued by Red Cross volunteers and Fuerza Publica officers.
The rescuers learned about the missing swimmer from the first victim and quickly deployed boats and ocean skiffs in search for the man. They were confident that they would find him since they were able to rescue his friend; alas, that would not be case.
Rescuers began their search around 5:40 in the afternoon, just as the sun was preparing to give way to the moon. They noticed the strong rip current and undertow conditions just around the time the tide was in motion. Hours later, the rescuers where engulfed in darkness and had already deployed divers to look for the missing man. His lifeless body was eventually retrieved from the treacherous Pacific ocean and was identified as a resident from the province of Cartago.
Rip currents in Costa Rica can develop on just about any beach where the wind and surf push in the same direction towards the beach. These currents are at their most forceful state between the shore and the first set of sand bars away from the beach; they tend to take swimmers out to sea with them and can be as fast as United States Olympian Gold Medalist Michael Phelps.
Just a few days ago, the Costa Rica Star reported on the drowning of a man inGuanacaste and also a victim of rip currents.