“You don´t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have,” said Margarita Durán, Alvaro Durán’s sister, on a Facebook status post on May 3, 2011.
Approximately two weeks ago, the Nosara community was shattered with the disappearance at Playa Guiones of Álvaro Durán Ribas, a 36-year-old graphics designer from San Jóse Sabanilla. Durán went out to surf on Friday afternoon April 22, 2011. The last time his wife, María Segura, saw him was around 6 p.m. that day, at the beach.
Durán’s board was found that Friday between 6 and 7 p.m., about the same time he went missing. When a Nosara resident came across the board, the leash was broken. She delivered the board to the tourist police at Guiones the following Monday afternoon.
The ground, maritime and aerial search that began early Saturday morning continued for eight days. The rescue team included the Red Cross, an airplane from the US Air Force, private helicopters, local pangas and fishing boats, a coast guard boat and police department (Fuerza Publica). Duran’s father, who is a flight instructor, took part in the aerial search for his son.
According to a Red Cross officer, the operation organized to find Durán was the most extensive in twenty years. The search covered a large area from Garza to San Juanillo, including all the river mouths and creeks in the area.
Margarita Durán and Sandra Ribas, sister and mother of Alvaro, were the first of the surfer’s family to arrive in Nosara -- at dawn on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Margarita said, “We went to the ocean to ask her to give him back to us. But she was furious. As soon as we got there I felt that she was telling us that she wouldn’t give him back; but we still asked for him.”
During their entire stay in Nosara, the Duráns were in touch with the community. Trying to keep their hopes alive, the community support helped to ease the heavy burden they were carrying. Margarita Durán commented “The locals approached us in support. Some said they had surfed with him (Alvaro). In Nosara, even if you are not surfing, and if you only have a friend or family member surfing, they feel the same anxiety with you, as if it is their own.”
The search was halted on Sunday, May 1. Carlos Alberto Villalobos Espinoza, president of the Nosara Red Cross, commented that the family was strong and positive during the entire search. Yet, the efforts of nine days came to nothing. Álvaro Durán Ribas, a father to two children, a husband, a son, a brother, a loved-one to many family and friends, a young professional, and a surf lover, has blended into the froth of the ocean, leaving in grief many hearts left behind.
To read what Margarita Durán, Álvaro’s sister, has to say about this rare incident, please click here to read her spanish blogpost.
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