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Monday, May 20, 2024

Costa Rica Mourns Promising Soccer Star After Crocodile Attack

Shock and grief have engulfed the community after a local soccer talent met a tragic end in a crocodile attack last week. 29-year-old Jesús “Chucho” López Ortiz was cooling off in the Cañas River when he was brutally attacked and killed.

Heartbroken loved ones, teammates and over 1,000 mourners gathered in Guanacaste province to bid farewell to the rising soccer star. “Today we bid farewell to you, ‘Chucho.’ Thank you to the entire nation that aided this family,” lamented Deportivo Río Cañas, López Ortiz’s club, also posting a touching video tribute.

According to police, López was swimming when he was attacked by a crocodile. A friend raised the alarm after realizing he failed to emerge from the water. Despite local resident Marcos Chavarria rushing to help upon hearing cries, the crocodile had already clamped its jaws around the victim.

Locals say López often swam in the river, well aware it was inhabited by crocodiles. At his funeral, his grieving mother thanked the public for their support, while urging environmental authorities to control crocodile overpopulation to prevent similar attacks.

However, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) denies overpopulation issues after studies. Though they killed the attacking crocodile to recover López’s body, SINAC says crocodile levels are balanced. They do plan to install river warning signs about the creatures.

The community is reeling from the loss of the up-and-coming soccer talent. “One day I’ll be the champ,” López Ortiz had said in an old interview. Sadly, his promising career was cut tragically short at 29, leaving behind two young children.

The community as well as all of Costa Rica, mourns Jesús “Chucho” López Ortiz, whose passion for soccer and community service made him a role model for many local youths. His legacy will live on through them.

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