San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Family of Five Killed In Rappelling Accident

Five members of a family were killed in a flash flood while rappelling down a waterfall in San Ramón, northwest of San José, Sunday. The mother, father and three sons were swept away when rain in the nearby mountains caused the river to flood suddenly.

A six-year-old daughter survived. The deceased were Luis Fernando Salazar González, 42; Isabel Rosales Barquero, 36; and their sons, Luis Alejandro, 15; Esteban, 12; and José Andrés, 11, according to Red Cross spokesman Jorge Jiménez.

The family was rappelling down a waterfall in the afternoon with a tour guide when the flash floods washed in. The daughter Valeria was rescued by tour guide Pedro Baltodano.

U.S. citizen Tamara Esrailin, 34, was rappelling with the group and survived the accident. She was taken to a nearby hospital by Red Cross workers, Jiménez said. Esrailin, from California, was in Costa Rica on a two-week Spanish immersion program, her husband Matthew Friedman told The Tico Times. She is out of the hospital and may go home early.

The daily La Nación reported that while the tour company had a license from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to conduct canopy tours, it had not received authorization to lead rappelling excursions. The name of the company was not released.


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