Friday 29 September 2023

Red Cross suspends extraction of nutritionist’s body in Chirripó

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29 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Cruz Roja (Red Cross), on Saturday,  suspended the extraction of the body of nutritionist Marialis Blanco Vega, who was found dead early in the morning in Ventisqueros canyon, in Chirripó National Park.

Marialis Blanco Vega, 39, has been missing since Tuesday in Chirripó.

According to information from rescuers, the woman, who had been missing since Tuesday, was lying on a cliff of more than 80 meters (262 feet).

After finding her body, the Red Cross proceeded not only to inform but to proceed with the extraction of the body.

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However, the climatic conditions, as well as the difficulty of the terrain, forced the suspend this operation until today, Sunday.

Minyar Collado, from the Specialized Unit for First Intervention of the Red Cross, explained the decision:

“We are in an area of ​​almost 80 degrees. For people to understand, there are cliffs, which have loose rocks and which generate a high risk factor for falls”.

Marialis Blanco Vega, 39, from her Facebook page

He added, rescuers must travel at least two and a half hours to be able to take the body to a safe area. However, since it is not a normal walk, that time would extend up to five hours.

“Once that is done, the extraction would follow a path that is easier,” he said.

If this is done today (Saturday), there would also be the risk since as night approaches the weather gets colder and colder and, in addition, the visibility would not be the same either, and it could also fall off a cliff.

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“This, in addition to suspending that action for today, rethink the extraction and consider doing it by air,” said Collado.

Of course, the Red Cross emphasized that all these jobs also depend on the weather on Sunday.

Fog could have played a role

The thick haze could have confused Marialis Blanco Vega.

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Hector Blanco, from the Rescate Urbano group, came to that conclusion, who along with colleagues worked in the search for Marialis, who sadly found around 8 am Saturday morning.

This was one of the last photos that Marialis Blanco Vega took before starting to climb the Chirripó.

“The weather conditions on the day she disappeared (May 4) were adverse, there was a lot of fog and rain, the issue on the mountain is that when there is fog you can’t see even a meter away,” explained Héctor.

“The trails are very well-demarcated, but when there is fog people get disoriented,” he added.

The Marialis had arrived that day at the Crestones shelter with an uncle and a cousin. It was assumed that at dawn on Wednesday they would climb to the Chirripó summit, but while at the shelter, Marialis wanted to go to visit Ventisqueros, the second-highest peak in the country, and which is three kilometers from where she was.

Only the uncle wet with Marialis, but she was walking very fast and she fell behind, think he was going to see her at the top, but he did not find her. At one point he heard a cry: “I’m lost!”, that is when he called his son to the shelter to inform the park rangers.

That very Tuesday they began to search for her, the rescuers maintained the faith of finding her alive. The last disappearance that occurred on the hill, that was in 2013, had had a happy ending.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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