Man disappears in flood on Costa Rica’s Pacific side

October 10, 2008

One person remained missing yesterday along Costa Rica´s central Pacific coast after torrential rains and flooding swamped the area Sunday night.

Edwin Fonseca, 52, his son, Alexander, and a mutual friend, Luis Cardenas, were driving across a small bridge near the town of Cerritos de Quepos between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday night when a surge of water pushed them into the swollen river.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” said Cardenas, who together with the younger Fonseca, were able to escape from the automobile as it filled with water.

When the car sank into the river the electrical system failed, leaving the three men unable to escape through the windows. As water filled in around them, Alex Fonseca found a tree branch and knocked out a back window, at which point he and Cardenas escaped to the roof of the car, and eventually to the bank of the river. Edwin Fonseca, unable to swim, never made it to shore.

Yesterday morning Fonseca, members of the press and two pilots boarded a rescue helicopter and took flight to search for the missing man. After an hour in the air, and with help from police and firefighters on the ground, the chopper returned. The search with continue today.

Fonseca, who currently resides in the U.S. state of New Jersey, had returned to Costa Rica earlier in the weekend to look at property for an upcoming development project.

“We are only alive by a miracle,” said Cardenas. “God gave us a new opportunity to live.”

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