More aid workers are being sent to the country’s beaches and rivers to answer escalating deaths and injuries over Semana Santa. Wednesday Cruz Roja representatives announced that hundreds of staffers would be added to the 1,200 already on patrol at 162 stations.
After reporting that the death count since Friday has risen to 15, the Cruz Roja officials are hoping a heightened presence at popular travel spots can prevent additional tragedies.
“In assuring the welfare of the population, volunteers from 125 assistance committees of the Cruz Roja are willing to provide humanitarian assistance and extra hospitable attention to people rescued during Semana Santa,” said Miguel Carmona Jiménez, president of Costa Rica’s Cruz Roja.
Representatives said that the main causes of death had been motor and water accidents. As of Wednesday morning, there had been 36 patients requiring transport to emergency rooms.
Early Wednesday Cruz Roja workers found four missing persons, which included three minors, in San Antonio de Alajuelita. However, during the search, a staff member fell into a 20-foot waterfall while looking for those missing and sustained serious injuries.
A Cruz Roja representative said the worker is still hospitalized in the emergency room at San Juan de Díos but is stable and alert. He appears to have suffered a strained right forearm and some spinal cord trauma.
Each worker is trained in first aid, water rescue, and mountain search operations, among others. As reported Tuesday, Cruz Roja workers were participating in water rescue simulations along the Pacific with the help of Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea.