A tourist drowned Wednesday afternoon in Playa Jacó after being pulled out into a riptide, officials reported. A witness said that quicker emergency response might have saved the man.
Police have very little information on the man, but a spokesperson at the Judicial Investigating Organization confirmed that the man is 28-year-old Garapaty Sthitha Prajna and that he is a citizen of India.
An eyewitness to the event said that the man came on a motorcycle bearing Georgia license plates.
The spokesperson also confirmed that the man’s mother lives in the United States, but he could not specify exactly where.
The eyewitness, an expat who preferred to not be identified, blamed an inefficient 911 system for Prajna’s death.
He said that not many people were on the beach that day. He reported that the man pulled up on his motorcycle with Georgia license plates and got into the water.
He had not been swimming long when the witness and a few other people on the beach saw him struggling against the current that was pulling him out.
The witness said that a group of people tried to coach him on
how to get out of the rip current, and one local tried to swim out to him.
Eventually, another current pulled the stranded man close enough for the local to get him out of the water, but he was not breathing, the witness said.
The witness called 911 and said that he was somehow disconnected. He said that an emergency operator called him back after about five minutes, but first asked for his name and cédula number before asking where to send an emergency response team.
The witness said that a Cruz Roja ambulance was on the scene 45 seconds after the second conversation with the emergency operator. The witness commended the efforts of this team to revive Prajna, even though they were unsuccessful.
The witness said that the chances of reviving the victim would have been higher if the emergency operator would have sent the ambulance earlier.
He also said that hotels need to warn swimmers about the riptide and that especially during the slow season for tourism there are no lifeguards to help people when they are caught in rip tides.
Officials at the local Fuerza Pública and Cruz Roja offices confirmed that the death took place, but were not able to confirm details.