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US citizen dies in boating accident off Costa Rica’s Playa Herradura

August 21, 2015

A U.S. tourist was killed in a boating accident last week off Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.

Won Ah, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, was reportedly swimming during a sport fishing expedition with six other tourists, including his brother, when he got caught in the boat’s propeller, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

The Red Cross responded to the accident and pronounced Ah dead at the scene.

The accident happened Aug. 13 at about 4 p.m., some 3 nautical miles out from Los Sueños Marina in Playa Herradura. The 36-foot boat, named Circle Hook, was headed out on a fishing charter. But the captain stopped the boat mid-ocean at the tourists’ request, according to OIJ.

However, the captain kept the engine running per protocol, OIJ’s press office said.

Some of the tourists reportedly asked if they could swim and jumped in the water, including Ah. Shortly afterwards, the captain heard a loud noise and cut the engines.

OIJ said it appeared that Ah’s bathing suit got caught in the boat’s propeller. He died at the scene.

Police are still investigating the incident, as is the Public Works and Transport Ministry, which oversees watercraft.

A spokesman for the ministry, Juan Carlos González, said the boat was fully permitted.

The incident was one of two boating accidents that claimed lives last week in Costa Rica. In the other, a Nicaraguan woman was killed Saturday night after the water taxi she was traveling in collided with a tourist boat in the canals of Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast.

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