QCOSTARICA – Strong winds affecting the country claimed the life of a driver before noon on Wednesday, after winds uprooted a tree that fell on his vehicle.
The accident occurred in Liberia, Guanacaste, adjacent to the Edgardo Baltodano Briceño stadium.
According to reports by the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and the Bomberos (Fire Department), the call came in at 10:58am, but when paramedics arrived at the scene a few minutes later, the driver of the vehicle was already dead.
The victim has been identified as Jorge Enrique Villarreal Vílchez, 34, the only occupant of the Hynduai hit by the tree. Villareal was an informal taxi driver, a resident of the barrio Felipe Pérez and survided by his two children, a seven-year old girl and 12-year-old boy.
For his part, the mayor of Liberia said that since 2002 the town has been wanting to remove the trees, but many residents and businesses opposed the plan, saying it provided good shade.
Since Tuesday, winds gusts have fallen some 35 trees and four utility poles around the country. More than 150 power failures, some 30 affecting large areas that included Coronado, Cuidad Colon, Santa Ana and Cartago, according to Erick Esquivel, acting distribution director of the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL) – power and light utility.
The winds have also affected travel on many highways. The national weather service, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN), says conditions will continue unstable due to a cold front affecting the entire country.
Wind gusts of between 60 km/h and 100 km/h are expected to continue in the Central Valley and North Pacific (Guanacaste). In the Caribbean and northern area, rain of varying intensity will continue.