4 Miami-area tourists killed in rafting accident in Costa Rica

South Florida group on excursion to celebrate bachelor party

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Four tourists from Miami-Dade County were killed Saturday in a rafting accident along the Naranjo River in Costa Rica, officials said.

Marco Monge, press officer for Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Organization, identified the American victims as Ernesto Sierra, Jorge Caso, Sergio Lorenzo and Andres Denis. A fifth person, a Costa Rican guide -- Kevin Thompson Reid -- was also killed.

The victims were among 14 people who went on a rafting trip near Quepos, an area of the Pacific coast popular with tourists. The country has seen heavy rains in recent weeks, swelling the Naranjo River. 

Each boat capsized in the rough water and every victim was dumped into the water. Authorities said weather is to blame. 

The group was in Costa Rica to celebrate a friend's bachelor party. 

"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," the survivors said in a group statement. "Unfortunately, not all of us were so lucky. Four of our dear friends drowned in those waters."

According to BBC News, Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado expressed his "dismay" at the incident and said he had asked authorities to give all possible support to the victims' families.

A GoFundMe page has been created for the victims.

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