A white-water rafting excursion in Costa Rica turned deadly on Saturday when rafts carrying a bachelor party flipped, sending the group careening down a flooded river. Four Americans and a local guide were killed.
Costa Rican authorities identified the victims as Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo and Andres Dennis ― all of whom lived in Florida and were between 25 and 35 years old. Kevin Thompson Reid was identified as the deceased guide.
The ill-fated activity had been planned as part of a bachelor party trip to celebrate Luis Beltran’s upcoming wedding. Fourteen of Beltran’s friends and relatives piled into rafts on the Naranjo River around 3 p.m. on Saturday. Authorities said there were also four guides on the rafts.
But the rafts capsized within five minutes, Anthony Castro, a surviving member of the group, wrote on a GoFundMe page created to pay for the victims’ funeral expenses.
“Throughout the dangerous ride down the river, all of us struggled to stay above water, swallowing lots of it on the way down as our bodies ricocheted against the rocks in the water while struggling to survive,” Castro wrote.
He continued: “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. ”
Castro, who described the incident as “a living nightmare,” identified Lorenzo as the groom’s brother.
“They all had so much life left to live as sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, and friends before this devastating tragedy occurred,” Castro wrote.
Costa Rica has experienced heavy rains in the last month, causing the river’s water levels to become dangerously high, authorities said.
This story has been updated to include more recent details about the accident from Costa Rican authorities.