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Rescue workers find bodies of missing father and son after landslide near Arenal

October 10, 2013

Approximately 300 people joined a search for a father and son who went missing during a landslide in the mountainous Arenal region in north-central Costa Rica on Tuesday morning.

The father, reported by the daily La Nación as 42-year-old Jehudi Castro, and his son went for a morning walk to take photographs in Nuevo Arenal, according to a report from news website crhoy.com. The two never returned, prompting a search that began later on Tuesday morning. The Red Cross reported that Castro’s son is 10-years-old, while La Nación stated that he is 8.

The Red Cross found Castro and his son beneath the debris at approximately 3 p.m. Thursday.

Heavy rains caused landslides in the area where the Castros lived, which forced the closure of a section of Route 142.

Freddy Román, a spokesman for the Red Cross, told The Tico Times on Thursday morning that they had searched for about 50 hours before the bodies were recovered. Román said landslides are a common danger in the area this time of year.

“It’s a mountainous area, and it has been very rainy,” Román said. “From September to October they often have many landslides, though there has not been so many this year.”

Román said 30 Red Cross volunteers and a search dog worked with neighbors and the local community. Román said the Red Cross pulled volunteers from multiple regions including Guanacaste and San José. He said the lack of rain in the area since the search began has been helpful, but rescuers needed to be cautious in the treacherous terrain.

TV news Channel 7, Teletica, reported that approximately 300 had joined the search, risking their own lives against the threat of further slides.

Gerardo Godínez, head of the company clearing the covered roads, told La Nación that 3,000 cubic meters of debris had fallen on the roads.

La Nación also interviewed the older Castro’s uncle, Antonio Sibaja, who said Castro lived 150 meters from the site of the landslide. Sibaja said Castro operated a dairy owned by a U.S. citizen, and had worked there for nine years.

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