CASPER, Wyo.– Alamosa native Darren Mizokami, 48, and his wife Kimberly, 41, drowned in an incident while vacationing in Costa Rica, according to K2 Radio in Casper, Wyoming where the couple currently resided.
According to the website La Teja, the couple were visiting a popular waterfall, El Salto, in Belén de Nosarita, Nicoya, Guanacaste Wednesday with their friend Sue Anderson when Darren began to drown in a waterfall pool.
Kim tried to swim to his rescue while their friend went for help, but Jim Batres, National Deputy Director of Risk Management for the Red Cross, said that when rescuers arrived the couple had drowned.
One of the rescue party said the water was very cloudy and it was difficult to gauge the depth, which was close to 23 feet.
According to “Costa Rica News Guanacaste”, the Red Cross received the alert at 11:35 a.m. Wednesday. A witness stated to local media that he received the alert from Anderson.
Apparently Darren decided to jump in the waterhole unaware of the depth, and when his wife saw that he was in trouble she jumped in to try to help him. Their friend went to get help, but when she arrived back at the waterfall the couple had drowned.
The Mizokamis were staying in a hotel in Samara near the falls and decided to visit the site to enjoy the fresh water and the waterfall.
They had arrived in Costa Rica along with Anderson on September 13 and had been visiting several tourist sites in the country such as La Fortuna, San Carlos and Rincon de la Vieja and Tamarindo in Guanacaste.
The couple had been married about two and a half years.
Darren Mizokami worked for the City of Casper for many years, and in fact his 25-year anniversary with the city was Thursday, Sept. 20. He had started as a seasonal part-time worker and became full time in 1993, working his way up to utility supervisor and interim supervisor for Municipal Court while the permanent supervisor was out on medical leave.
The city issued a statement calling Darren “an integral part of our organization … Darren’s experience in multiple divisions made him very effective for the city, which benefitted the residents as well. However, it was his positive attitude and commitment to his duties, even during difficult situations, that helped him excel and lift up those around him.”
Casper City Manager Carter Napier remembers Darren as, “always having a smile and cheery greeting. Darren was a bright spot in our lives. He will be sorely missed by me, the organization and those who knew him. We extend our deepest condolences to Darren’s family.”
According to La Teja in 2015 a woman died at the same spot, which is popular with tourists.
Caption: Darren Mizokami shared this photo on Facebook with his wife Kimberly on a Costa Rican beach on Tuesday. The couple had been in the country on vacation about a week before their tragic drowning in the deep pool at a popular waterfall.