Crocodile Attacks Surfer at Popular Costa Rica Beach

A surfer crossing a river between two popular breaks in Costa Rica was attacked by a crocodile so severely that doctors had to amputate his leg. 

American Jonathan Betker, 50, was crossing a river between the two renowned surfing destinations of Playa Grande and Tamarindo when the crocodile reportedly bit onto his ankle, according to Surfline.

He was able to make to shore under his own power, but once on the sand he collapsed in a pool of blood before lifeguards and other onlookers came to his help around 7 am. At the hospital, doctors determined they could not save his lower leg.

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Both tourist towns of Tamarindo and Playa Grande have been booming in recent years. Travelers, especially from California, looking for pristine beaches that seem to roll back the clock to a lost era, have found a home in the laid back communities along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. 

The river that flows into the ocean just north of Tamarindo contributes to the slow breaking waves that seemingly go on forever, but they also harbor extreme dangers.

In recent years, tourist attractions have exploited the presence of crocs as a means to attract visitors for kayak tours and other boat rides. Restaurants along the river even feed the crocs in hopes of bringing in more guests. 

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Meanwhile, surfers who often cross through the shallows, which at low tide can be no more than 30 meters to cross the river leading into the estuary. In response, some locals have began offering boat rides across the river for a small fee. 

As this recent incident shows, surfing in Tamarindo comes with implied risk.

Photo credit: Wikimedia 

h/t Surfline