US Citizen Rhiannon Joy Hull, 33, who was swimming with her six-year-old son at Playa Avellanas on the Pacific coast in the northwestern province of Guanacaste (Costa Rica) on Friday (October 28) drowned after being swept out to sea by a strong ocean current. Swimmers nearby saw that Hull was in trouble and were able to save her son, but they could not reach her. in time. Hull's body was recovered on Sunday (October 30) by the Costa Rican Coast Guard approximately two miles out to sea off of Playa Flamingo, north of Playa Avellana.
COMMENT: Hull moved to Costa Rica in September with her two sons to teach at a private kindergarten in Playa Avellanas. According to the Red Cross of Costa Rica, 92 drownings have occurred thus far in Costa Rica in 2011. That represents a 21% increase from the 76 drownings that occurred in 2010.
From my own experience during numerous visits to Costa Rica, depths on the Pacific coast can drop suddenly with accompanying strong currents that can quickly pull even strong swimmers out to sea very quickly. Newcomers should not venture away from shallow beach areas without first talking to locals and fisherman who know the waters well. Also, adults should never swim alone because of the currents.