San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Red Cross

Strong waves blamed in drowning of 2 Canadian tourists in Costa Rica, including 2-year-old girl

Update, 9:06 p.m., Jan. 26:

A reader on our Facebook profile disputed the Red Cross’ initial suspicions that strong waves or a rip current may be to blame for the drownings. While the Red Cross investigation is ongoing, the reader, who said he was at the scene Monday, said ocean conditions were normal, and the accident likely could be blamed on a lack of lifeguards at the beach, an ongoing concern at many beaches in Costa Rica.

Original story continues here:

Two Canadian tourists identified by the Red Cross in Puntarenas as Andrea Bell, 70, and 2-year-old Jasmine Rodríguez Olching drowned on Monday afternoon at Playa Hermosa, a northern Pacific beach in Cóbano, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula.

According to the Red Cross, an emergency call at 1:43 p.m. reported the young child was being pulled out to sea. Paramedics arriving at the scene found both victims out of the water with no vital signs. Crew members of a private emergency service unsuccessfully performed CPR on both victims.

Bell was pronounced dead at the scene, and Rodríguez was rushed to a nearby hospital in Cóbano, where she died minutes after arrival, Red Cross official Christian Castro said.

Pending an investigation, officials initially suspect that strong and high waves that have been pounding the northern Pacific shores since the weekend likely contributed to the deaths.

Experts from the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research in Ocean Sciences and Limnology (CIMAR) last Friday warned that strong winds coming from the northeast would create strong waves at several coastal areas, particularly in the northern Pacific, and conditions were expected to intensify on Monday.

CIMAR experts urge beachgoers this week to take precautions against powerful waves and rip currents, which are being reported at several beaches along the Pacific.

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Renee Mastrangelo

Hospital in Cobano? No such thing. The lack of medical care and emergency services for locals and tourist alike is pathetic here, people who live and visit here deserve so much better.

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Niki Meeks

Playa Hermosa is a surfing beach and known for big waves, we have 3 small children and tend to stay away for their safety. There are many beaches in Costa Rica that offer more calm seas…it is too bad these tourists did not drive a few more km to more tranquil Playa Herradura or Punta Leona. We learned our way around by asking locals where the better beaches were for children and we found that they were quick to offer information and even told us to stay away from the surf beaches.

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According to the article this happened at the other Playa Hermosa (the one near Liberia), which is usually a fairly calm family friendly beach. I don’t think they can be blamed for the beach they chose. Sad story.

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Stephanie Vanklootwyk

We live at Playa Hermosa and while we were not at the beach Monday when these drownings occurred, I can tell you that we see tourists every single day wading out too far and children constantly being allowed into the water unattended. Basic education on water/ocean safety would go far to save people’s lives. Hermosa is a strong beach with a swift and face current that holds several rips. Local businesses and Inn keepers should have basic information on safety in every room and posted in beachside bars/restaurants. We have seen children knocked down by unsuspecting and inattentive parents in an instant.

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