Surfer dies at beach in Pichilemu, Chile

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Paulina Tapia (left), near the Punta de Lobos rocks (at the right), in August 2010.
Image: Paulina Constanza Tapia Figueroa's Facebook profile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Los Navegantes, Pichilemu, Chile – Paulina Constanza Tapia Figueroa, 25, a surfer native to Pichilemu, known worldwide as the "Surf Capital", died on Monday, at Punta de Lobos beach, about seven kilometers south of the city.

Her body was discovered by fishermen in the area, who called Pichilemu Police officers, who along with Homicide Brigade of the Investigations Police of Chile (PDI) officers, arrived at the place and took the body to the Forensic Medical Service offices in San Fernando.

Tapia had been practicing surfing for years, and earlier that day, had been accompanied with her friends. "A shellfish diver of the area noticed a surfboard floating, he approached it and saw that the girl [Tapia] was semisubmerged in the water. After taking her out, he realized she was dead," Juan Reyes, officer of the Homicide Brigade of PDI told Televisión Nacional de Chile.

According to reports, Tapia either died because of a heart attack or after being hit. Third-party participation in her death was ruled out by officers.

"She had a free spirit, she loved nature, and I don't really know what happened to her, a cramp [maybe]," Filippo Tapia, her father, told La Tercera. Josefa Tapia, her 14-year-old sister who is studying at Colegio Preciosa Sangre, seemed very affected by her death after being informed of the situation by school inspectors.

"Your sister will always be watching out and protecting you from heaven, remember the moments you and your family lived with her ​​and that made ​​you happy," a friend of Josefa wrote on her Facebook wall.

Photos, videos, and messages such as "Paulita, rest in peace with love, I'll miss you a lot, great waves and farewell forever," and "My friend, I know you are in a better place having a really good time, you're the best! I love you infinitely!" flooded Paulina Tapia's Facebook wall.

Tapia's body remained in the Forensic Medical Service of San Fernando on Tuesday morning, according to reports. According to Domingo Osorio Figueroa, Paulina Tapia's remains have been veiled since Tuesday's afternoon in the dependencies of Funerales Rodríguez, in Rancagua, capital of O'Higgins Region. A mass will be performed in the Rancagua Sur Catholic Parish, at 11:30 local time (14:30 UTC) on Wednesday, and then she will be buried in Parque Jardín Las Flores, in Machalí.


Sources

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