Canadian restaurateur and rugby player Peter Scouras drowned off the coast of Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa in the province of Puntarenas Monday afternoon. A Red Cross spokeswoman confirmed the death to The Tico Times, detailing that a rescue call was made to authorities at 12:20 p.m. Monday and a water rescue boat recovered Scouras’ body an hour later.
Scouras was reportedly in Costa Rica to take part in a rugby tournament with his club, the University of Manitoba Wombats, where he was team president. According to a press release from Rugby Canada, Scouras’ team was in the country for the Rainforest 7s rugby tournament in Tres Ríos, which took place last weekend.
“I would like to express, on behalf of Rugby Canada, our condolences on the loss of University of Manitoba Wombats President Peter Scouras to the entire Manitoban Rugby Community,” said Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen in a written release. “When tragedies like this occur, it reminds us that we in the Canadian Rugby community must remain a tight-knit family from coast to coast.”
The former rugby player was also a restaurant owner in the Winnipeg area. Scouras’ restaurant, the Red Top Diner, was featured on the Food Network show “You Gotta Eat Here!” in 2012.
The drowning occurred directly in front of Hotel Marea Brava on Playa Hermosa, just south of Jacó, the Red Cross spokeswoman said. The beach is known for its large waves and strong tide that make for internationally recognized surf.
Drownings have often been the center of fierce debate on Costa Rica’s beaches, where lifeguards are few and far between. Because there are no laws requiring shores to be supervised and basically no funding from the government, drowning fatalities are disproportionately high in Costa Rica. From 2000 to 2014, the country suffered at least 50 drownings per year.
Rugby officials said Scouras will be remembered for his work in the Winnipeg community and his spirit as a constant figure in the sport.
“I’ve known Peter for over 10 years, both as a player and administrator, and he embodied all the positive characteristics of Canadian and Manitoban Rugby,” said Sandy Donald, President of Canada’s Manitoba Rugby Union in the league’s written statement. “On behalf of the Manitoba Rugby Union, I’d like to share my sincere condolences to Peter’s family and the University of Manitoba Wombats Rugby Club.”