81-Year-Old Man Survives Being Trapped In Mud For Two Days After Nate

The old man decided to stay behind to tend to his pigs, refusing to be evacuated after Tropical Storm Nate hit Costa Rica. He was found by a neighbor two days later, buried in mud


An 81-year-old man spent two days buried in mud before being rescued on Saturday. Alfredo Sequeria Ondoy, a native of Pueblo Nuevo de Cuidad Cortes was trapped by the mud in his house caused by the torrential rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Nate.

The elderly man, who has no children, lived with his partner and another older adult.

Photo Alfonso Quesada, La Nacion

On Wednesday, when the Terraba river began to overflow its banks due to the tropical storm, a rescue worker was able to take the elderly woman from the house, but Alfredo decided to stay behind to take care of his pigs.


From a shelter on Sunday morning, Alfredo was able to tell his story.

When he saw the water in the river rising, he climbed a carambola tree and from there climbed to the roof of his house, where he remained until the water began to recede. When he got down from the roof he found the water, still at waist level, had carried off the pigs and everything in the house was floating.

Nowhere to be found

Though Alfredo’s companion insisted to rescue workers that he was still there, they could not find him anywhere, because he had already come down from the roof and was inside this house.

Though Alfredo’s companion insisted to rescue workers that he was still there, he was nowhere to be found. This because he had already come down from the roof and had been trapped under the mud inside the house.

Saturday afternoon,  Luis Vargas, a neighbor of the old man, returning to the Finca 9 de Palmar Sur de Osa, found that some of the houses were full of mud and household items floating in the mud outside.

Suddenly he heard a very weak moan and looked from where it came from. His surprise was when he saw a face peeking out of the mud. Digging, he found Alfredo’s body, who is known in the area by his nickname “Papá”.

Vargas immediately called 911 and in minutes a Fuerza Publica (national police) boat arrived and first responders took over. Finding Alfredo very cold and weak, they administered first aid and took him to the Tomás Casa de Osa hospital.

By the next morning (Sunday) Alfredo had recovered and moved to a shelter in Palmar Norte, though he may be back to hospital for a day or two more to treat an injury to his right foot and the fact that he is diabetic.

Happy ending

His sentimental companion is an another shelter, at the Escuela 11 de Abril and has been told that her better half survived the storm.