Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz, a 29-year-old amateur footballer known as ‘Chucho’, died after being attacked by a crocodile while bathing in a river in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz

Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz was killed by a crocodile

A thousand people lined the streets in Costa Rica to pay tribute to an amateur footballer who was killed in a crocodile attack.

Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz was killed on July 29 after entering the Cañas River to escape the heat. The 29-year-old, who played for amateur club Deportivo Rio Canas, was attacked by the crocodile in shocking footage which was later shared online.

Lopez Ortiz, whose nickname was ‘Chucho’, was laid to rest in a night time procession in Guanacaste Province on August 1. Footage posted on the Facebook page of Deportivo Rio Canas showed huge crowds gathering by the side of the road as his coffin passed by.

Mourners held white heart-shaped balloons, trophies and portraits of Chucho, who left behind two children, aged three and eight. His football club paid tribute to their lost player in a touching post.

“Today we said goodbye Chucho,” the post on Facebook read. “Around a thousand people accompanied you, representing all your friends, family and the whole country that was with you.

“Thank you all on behalf of the Lopez Ortiz family, on behalf of the mothers of their children, on behalf of all the people of Rio Cañas (New and Old) but mainly thanks to all on behalf of their children Derian and Eithan, thanks to all the country who helped this family, simply thank you for everything.”

Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz Mourners lined the streets to pay their respects (


Facebook / Deportivo Río Cañas)

Another post from the club read: “You take a part of everyone buddy.. Today is a very difficult day for everyone and we will remember you in the many facets of your sporting life as a coach, football player and also as a family father, you will always live in our hearts Chucho, fly high friend.”

Chucho’s mother gave thanks for all the emotional and financial support she has received since her son died. Giselle Ortiz Cubillo said: “There are no words, I know God will bless them… if it hadn’t been for them, I don’t know what I would have done.”

The crocodile was shot dead on the riverbank and Chucho’s body was then retrieved via a canoe. Costa Rica has strict regulations against hunting or killing protected animals, including crocodiles, but local police claimed that they had permission to kill the reptile due to the horrific circumstances.

Jesus Alberto Lopez Ortiz's funeral due crowds The funeral due huge crowds (


Facebook / Deportivo Río Cañas)

A statement issued by the police said: “It should be clarified that all efforts were made to rescue the body of the deceased person without causing damage to the reptile, which was not possible.”

Chucho’s football team, Deportivo Rio Canas, have now resumed playing matches and will do so in his honour.

A post explained: “Despite how difficult it is for everyone [because of] the loss of Chucho, we have to continue in the tournament, now is when we need the fans the most and go together stronger toward the goal of winning the Copa Carrillo.”