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Search Ends, Lost Surfer Not Found

By Pinar Istek


“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, sist
er 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.


More Regional News

Tsunami Alarm Tested!

On Thursday, on May 26th, 2011 at noon, the Tsunami Alarm, located in Lot 111 of Section A, below Villa Mango, was tested with the purpose of finding out the aerial coverage of the alarm system. It was only heard at Pelada Beach.

Tourist Found Dead at Pelada Beach

On Sunday, May 22nd, 2011, Donald Bruce Altieri, 54, was found dead on his bed at Condominios Las Palmas of Pelada Beach. Altieri, from the United States was on vacation with his son, Daniel Bruce Altieri.

Closure of the Nosara Dump
Ministry of Heath Agrees on Two More Months for the Operation of Nosara Dump
Municipality and the Community Leaders of Nosara united to accomplish orders of the Ministry of Health

“I promise not to close the dump as long as there are efforts to improve it,” said Gabriel Sotelo González, inspector from the Nicoya Ministry of Health during a meeting on May 18th at Hotel L’acqua Viva.

Closure of Nosara Dump
Community Leaders Call for Municipal Equipment to Avoid Closure

Nosara's community leaders joined together to present a letter to the City of Nicoya asking that the municipality "bring in the equipment to make new trenches" in the dump in Nosara, which is subject to a March 22 closure order issued by the Ministry of Health.

San Vicente Ceramics Without Clay
Chorotegas' Millenniums-old Tradition Could Disappear

A few days from the start of winter, the hands of the artisans of San Vicente of Nicoya are idle due to the lack of clay and their families are distressed from not having resources.

Mel Gibson's Property Still Facing Trouble with Nicoya's Town Council
Rumors in the area indicate the estate would be bought by Lady Gaga

Problems continue to plague Mel Gibson's property on Playa Barrigona, in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste. In a report issued March 29th, Nicoya's Municipalidad (town council), where the property is located, has stated that the five buildings constructed over 10 years ago never acquired the proper municipal permits.

Ministry of Health Order Closing the Dump Could Bring Local Groups Together
Finding Solutions, Immediate and Long-term, is the Community's Challenge

Trash is not something pleasant to see, to smell or to talk about. Yet, it is certainly a reality of life. As human beings, the only creatures on earth to create inorganic trash, dealing with garbage is an inevitable reality for us. By May 10th, Nosara, a paradise to the visitors, will lose its only dump because of a decision taken by the Ministry of Health. According to the notification sent to the Nicoya municipality, the Nosara's dump "puts the public health at risk."

Conflict Over Municipal Council Members' Stipends

The Stipend is a compensation that is the right of a functionary, in this case of Municipal Council members. According to the Municipal Code a Council member is entitled to a stipend for attending a paid session of the Council of which he or she is a member.

Attention Guiones and Pelada: Tsunami Alarm Will Be Tested in May

The Tsunami Alarm located in Lot 111 of Section A below Villa Mango, will be tested on May 26th, 2011 at noon. There are five sirens for different purposes: general, radioactivity, chemical, water and fire alarms. They will be tested in the same order they are listed.

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