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Five Killed in Costa Rica Rafting Accident as Bachelor Party Turns Into ‘Living Nightmare’

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The 14 members of Luis Beltran’s bachelor party in Costa Rica.

(GoFundMe/Anthony Castro)

  • A bachelor party in Costa Rica turned into a tragedy when five were killed in a rafting accident.
  • Four Americans and one local guide were killed when all three rafts overturned in the flooded Naranjo River.
  • The National Meteorological Institute in Costa Rica advised that downpours could increase flow in rivers.
  • A GoFundMe page has been set up to alleviate funeral and memorial costs.

Florida residents Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo and Andres Dennis and local tour guide Kevin Thompson Reid were killed when all three rafts overturned, said Marco Monge of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Organization.

Anthony Castro, one of the surviving members of the trip, wrote in a GoFundMe set up to help funeral and memorial costs, that when the group arrived, the tour guides had advised they wait before rafting due to wind and rain.

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The group was allowed in the water under an hour later. Five minutes later all three rafts had capsized and everyone was in the water. 

“Everyone struggled to get back on the rafts, with some efforts being successful, but ultimately the rafts continued to capsize due to the immense current,” wrote Castro.

The group struggled to keep their heads above the rough water even with life jackets on. Of the 14 in the bachelor party, 10 were able to grab ahold of rocks so rescue crews could reach them. The remaining four drowned.

“We don’t understand why they got in that river when it was under those conditions where it could have filled up or there could have been rain in the mountains,” said Maria Amalia Revelo, the Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica.

The National Meteorological Institute in Costa Rica advised of downpours and thunderstorms in a Saturday forecast, recommending “caution in areas with vulnerability to flooding due to saturation of sewage, before the increase of the flow in rivers and streams.”

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Belen Valladares, the mother of one of the rescued members of the bachelor party, told Q Costa Rica News that her son had described water rushing down the mountains while they were on the tour.

“Luis [Beltran], the man we hoped to celebrate all weekend, lost a brother and we all lost four great friends during this vacation which went horribly wrong,” said Castro.

“They all had so much life left to live as sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, and friends before this devastating tragedy occurred,” the GoFundMe reads.

Castro added that all donations that surpass the page’s set goal will go to the children of Sergio Lorenzo.

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