San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Boating accidents

US citizen dies in boating accident off Costa Rica's Playa Herradura

A U.S. tourist was killed in a boating accident last week off Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.

Won Ah, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, was reportedly swimming during a sport fishing expedition with six other tourists, including his brother, when he got caught in the boat’s propeller, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

The Red Cross responded to the accident and pronounced Ah dead at the scene.

The accident happened Aug. 13 at about 4 p.m., some 3 nautical miles out from Los Sueños Marina in Playa Herradura. The 36-foot boat, named Circle Hook, was headed out on a fishing charter. But the captain stopped the boat mid-ocean at the tourists’ request, according to OIJ.

However, the captain kept the engine running per protocol, OIJ’s press office said.

Some of the tourists reportedly asked if they could swim and jumped in the water, including Ah. Shortly afterwards, the captain heard a loud noise and cut the engines.

OIJ said it appeared that Ah’s bathing suit got caught in the boat’s propeller. He died at the scene.

Police are still investigating the incident, as is the Public Works and Transport Ministry, which oversees watercraft.

A spokesman for the ministry, Juan Carlos González, said the boat was fully permitted.

The incident was one of two boating accidents that claimed lives last week in Costa Rica. In the other, a Nicaraguan woman was killed Saturday night after the water taxi she was traveling in collided with a tourist boat in the canals of Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast.

Contact Jill Replogle at jillrep@ticotimes.net

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Brian Malone

@DAN GIBSON

Dan, that definitely sounds more along the lines of what likely happened. If that’s what protocol is, that’s news to me. Although, what does drinking have anything to do with the incident? While that tends to happen sometimes, it seems kind of irrelevant in this situation. Well, at least unless the hired boat captain was drinking too.

How can the captain and first mate (typically on these boats) not account for every person before turning on the engine? It simply sounds like gross negligence on the captain’s and FM’s part.

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Fernando Gerdano

This is the 2nd time this has happened in the last week?

Pura vida!

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Dan Gibson

Protocol — ”to leave the engines running” — when clients are ”swimming” ? And — from what the article asserts — the boat was ”in gear” and under power — completely stupid or absolutely ridiculous — !! Something a little closer to what actually happened — would be – they went fishing — drank a lot — and — on the way back in – decided to go for a swim – the engines were turned off — and — not knowing one person was still in the water — the captain started the engines and put the boat in gear — try that scenario and see if it does not sound a little more believable —-

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Brian Malone

Dan, that definitely sounds more along the lines of what likely happened. If that’s what protocol is, that’s news to me. Although, what does drinking have anything to do with the incident? While that tends to happen sometimes, it seems kind of irrelevant in this situation. Well, at least unless the hired boat captain was drinking too.

How can the captain and first mate (typically on these boats) not account for every person before turning on the engine? It simply sounds like gross negligence on the captain’s and FM’s part.

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djspunu

the prop does not spin when the motor is in neutral

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