An American identified as Johnathan Becker was attacked by a crocodile while crossing the river between Playa Grande and Tamarindo in Costa Rica this Friday.
The 59-year-old suffered serious injuries, the most critical one was being on his ankle. He defended himself from the croc and made it to the shore by himself, but once on the sand he fell into a state of shock after losing a large amount of blood. According to reports from local photographer Leo Pinero, Becker was crossing the river shortly after 7:00 am Friday, coming back from a surf at Playa Grande, located north of Tamarindo, when the attack took place.
Depending on the tide, the water dividing the beach is no more than 30 meters.
Once out of the water, Lifeguards and local surfers came to his aid. About 40 minutes later, an ambulance came to transfer him to the hospital in nearby Liberia. Doctors were forced to amputate his leg, according to reports.
Lately, the river has been notorious for a large population of crocodiles. The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, which is responsible for monitoring the dangerous animals, has placed warnings near the water. But surfers ignore the signs and cross daily. Lately, a group of locals has offered passage across via a barge for one dollar; but sometimes they even allow passengers for free.
The crocodile issue has been a topic of contention for many years in Costa Rica. While some locals try and take action over the risk they pose, others see them as an attractive business venture for tourists.
There are tours on that same estuary where guides will feed the beasts and tourists will look on. In addition, restaurants line the river with the possibility of a croc sighting attracting customers –the restaurants also feed the animals in order to have them close so people can see them. This area is part of Costa Rica’s national park system and park rangers argue that the increased croc presence is due to human interaction.
This river runs through a mangrove swamp that has many wild animals.
Last year, a Canadian surfer created a large fuss over social media, saying that he was attacked by a crocodile. But the incident was shrouded in doubt, since the surfer didn’t have wounds that looked like he was a victim of a croc attack.