What happened on that fateful day, Saturday, October 20, 2018, when five people died – four tourists and a guide – while white water rafting accident during a bachelor party. The accident occurred near Quepos, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.
In the accident four Florida men, Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo and Andres Dennis died. Local guide Kevin Thompson Reid also died in the accident
The four were part of a group of 14 taking part in the bachelor party for Lorenzo’s brother Luis Beltran, when they set off down the Naranjo river at 3 pm. After experiencing a delay of almost an hour by rain and wind, they were confident it would be safe when they got in the water.
But, within five minutes in the water, all three rafts capsized and all were in the water. Ten managed to grab on to rocks and save themselves but four did not.
It took rescue teams hours to recover all of their bodies, the last after 9 pm.
On the GoFundme.com, the fundraiser page by Anthony Castro, that has raised (as of this morning) US$66,000 of the US$100,000 target, the group described fighting for their lives as the waters carried them out of their rafts.
“We’ve all been friends for many years and we knew we wanted to do something special for our friend before his wedding. We planned a few activities, one of them being a white water rafting tour on the Saturday of our trip.
“When we first arrived, it was windy and raining, and the professional tour guides advised that we wait a bit before going out on the water. Less than an hour later, we got the okay to head out, and the 14 of us separated onto 3 different rafts. Within five minutes of being out on the river, all three rafts capsized, and everyone ended up in the water.
“Everyone struggled to get back on the rafts, with some efforts being successful, but ultimately the rafts continued to capsize due to the immense current. Within minutes, all of us were careening down the river with life jackets and helmets just trying to stabilize and find something to hold on to.
“Throughout the dangerous ride down the river, all of us struggled to stay above water, swallowing lots of it on the way down as our bodies ricocheted against the rocks in the water while struggling to survive. Most of us were ultimately able to grab hold of rocks or barriers in or around the water and await the rescue teams to get to us. Unfortunately, not all of us were so lucky. Four of our dear friends drowned in those waters.
“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.”
On Sunday, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) raided the offices of the rafting company located in Quepos and are continuing their investigation into the accident.
The surviving group said they created the GoFundMe page to help raise money for the families of their friends, to alleviate costs for funeral and memorial expenses.
“They all had so much life left to live as sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, and friends before this devastating tragedy occurred.”