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Four American Tourists, Tour Guide Killed in Rafting Accident in Costa Rica

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© Getty Images PHOTO: Rafting in Costa Rica. (photo via raularosa/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse

Four American tourists and a local tour guide were killed during a whitewater rafting accident on the Naranjo River in Quepos, Costa Rica on Saturday.

The four tourists—identified by the country's Judicial Investigation Agency as Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo, and AndrĂ©s Denis—were all between the ages of 25 and 35 and visiting for a bachelor party.

According to La Nacion, the tour guide was identified as 45-year-old Kevin Thompson Reid.

"What was meant to be a weekend to remember for 14 friends turned into a living nightmare," Anthony Castro wrote on a GoFundMe page that was created Sunday to help victims' families pay for funeral costs.

According to Castro, it was windy and raining when the men arrived for the rafting excursion over the weekend. "Professional tour guides advised that we wait a bit before going out on the water. Less than an hour later, we got the okay to head out and the 14 of us separated onto three different rafts," he wrote. "Within five minutes of being out on the river, all three rafts capsized and everyone ended up in the water."

Castro said the men struggled to get back on their rafts as they continued to capsize because of the strong current. "Within minutes, all of us were careening down the river with life jackets and helmets just trying to stabilize and find something to hold on to," he added.

"Most of us were ultimately able to grab hold of rocks or barriers in or around the water and await the rescue teams to get to us. Unfortunately, not all of us were so lucky. Four of our dear friends drowned in those waters."

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed the deaths in a Twitter post over the weekend, extending condolences to the victims' families and friends and praising the Costa Rican government for its support.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada also released a mournful statement following the tragic accident.

"Luis, 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," Castro wrote.

As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe page has raised more than $21,000 from nearly 500 people. The fundraising campaign's goal has been set at $100,000.

Costa Rica's wet season typically runs from May to mid-November and while the destination is renowned for rafting and other water sports, heavy rains of late have led to flooding in some places along the country's Pacific Coast and made the aforementioned activities more dangerous for the time being.

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