Costa Rican raft accident turns bachelor party into 'living nightmare'

It took less than five minutes for a weekend bachelor party in Costa Rica to turn into a tragedy that claime...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 6:51 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 6:51 AM

It took less than five minutes for a weekend bachelor party in Costa Rica to turn into a tragedy that claimed the lives of four men, including the groom's brother.

Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo and Andres Denis were killed during a white-water rafting tour on the Naranjo River in Quepos on Saturday. The men, all Americans, were between 25 and 35 years old. A fifth person, a Costa Rican tour guide identified as Kevin Thompson Reid, also died, according to Costa Rican officials.

Accidents

Accidents, disasters and safety

Central America

Continents and regions

Costa Rica

Latin America

Ship and boat accidents

Sightseeing services

The Americas

Travel and tourism

Travel arrangements and reservations

Families and children

Society

Weddings and engagements

"What was meant to be a weekend to remember for 14 friends turned into a living nightmare," said Anthony Castro, one of the group's survivors, who started a GoFundMe page in honor of his friends.

Castro said the group had planned a number of activities during their trip to Costa Rica, which they were determined to make memorable for their longtime friend, Luis Beltran.

"We've all been friends for many years and we knew we wanted to do something special for our friend before his wedding."

Castro said the bachelor party arrived at the river amid high winds and rain, which led the rafting tour guides to delay going out on the water for just under an hour.

After the guides gave the all clear, the group piled into their rafts.

"Within five minutes of being out on the river, all three rafts capsized, and everyone ended up in the water," Castro said.

Thirteen of the 18 people pitched into the water were able to grab hold of the overturned rafts, Costa Rican officials say. Other members of the party were swept down the river.

Castro said the river's "immense current" kept flipping the rafts as he and others tried to pull themselves out of the water. Eventually he was among those carried away, banging off rocks in the water.

Those carried downriver were wearing life jackets and helmets, but Castro said it was a battle to keep his head above water. "All of us struggled to stay above water, swallowing lots of it on the way down."

Castro said he and some others were able to grab onto rocks or barriers in and around the river, but four of his friends, including the groom's brother, were not among them.

"Luis, the man we hoped to celebrate all weekend, lost a brother and we all lost four great friends during this vacation which went horribly wrong," Castro said.

The GoFundMe page Castro started will help pay for funeral expenses for his lost friends. He says any additional money raised will go to Lorenzo's children.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said on his official Twitter account: "In the name of the government and people of Costa Rica I would like to express our deepest sorrow for the accident this afternoon at the Naranjo River in Quepos. I would like to thank all the emergency and security teams that worked diligently, and I have instructed authorities to help the victim's families."

West Lafayette
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 82°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 74°
Rensselaer
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 80°
Crawfordsville
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 76°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 81°
Delphi
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 75°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events