Kansas Students Die on Costa Rica Field Trip

Monday, June 12th 2006, 10:33 am
By: News On 6

Two Kansas teenagers died and two other Americans were missing Sunday after they were swept away by currents while swimming at a Pacific Coast beach in Costa Rica, authorities reported Sunday.

Officials said they were still searching for the two swimmers missing from the Saturday accident, identified as a teacher and a student from Labette County High School in Altamont, Kansas.

"We are carrying out air and sea searches for the missing," Red Cross shift supervisor Alexander Morales said.

The body of Danielle Tongier, 18, who graduated from the school last year, was found Saturday, according to school authorities and Costa Rican officials.

Searchers on Sunday recovered the body of Andrew Harpstrite, a 17-year-old junior at Labette, said Red Cross guard chief Carlos Bolanos.

The two teens, along with junior Jessica Pierce, 17, apparently got in trouble while swimming off Palo Seco beach, near the town of Parrita, about 180 miles south of the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

Counselors will be available for students at Labette County High School in southeast Kansas today.

The group was on a language and arts trip with several other students.

The school superintendent in southeast Kansas' Labette County says about ten students from Labette County High School were on the trip.

The group was due to return to Kansas on Wednesday.