Four Dutch tourists and a Costa Rican guide were successfully rescued from Arenal Volcano Saturday morning after being injured during a summit hike to an area off-limits to visitors for safety reasons.
According to Radio San Carlos 1430 AM, which posted photos and video of the complicated rescue, the tourists were injured by a rockslide while they were hiking in one of the canyons near the volcanic crater.
The group finally left the mountain at 6 am Saturday after a lengthy and dangerous rescue effort that began around midday Friday and was complicated by unstable terrain, rain and cold, the station reported.
“The first [tourists] we rescued had various injuries; one of them had a broken collarbone and arm, and the last tourist had a leg injury and various bruises,” Alejandro Madrigal of the Red Cross told Radio San Carlos. “We took all of them to private clinics in La Fortuna.”
Earlier this year, the Environment Ministry reported an increase in illegal tours to hike Arenal’s summit.
Visitors are not allowed within an established perimeter that averages 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the crater. The measure aims to protect visitors from both volcanic activity and rough terrain.
MINAE officials explained at the time that because the area around the volcanic cone is not an authorized tourist site, it does not have any infrastructure for visitors. The restricted area lacks tourist trails or proper demarcation, and it includes very steep slopes that are prone to landslides like the one that occurred Friday.