HOUSTON -- A Sugar Land man who suffered a severe brain injury on a Costa Rican vacation nine months ago died Wednesday night at a nursing home, his family said.

On Oct. 25, Chad Swenson and his wife were vacationing in Costa Rica when, while white-water rafting, a tree limb hit him in the head, fracturing his skull and face.

A fellow tourist was swinging on a tree when that branch fell loose, hitting Chad Swenson and knocking him out of the raft.

That same tourist was also a paramedic, who helped get Chad Swenson out of the rain forest alive. 
Eden Swenson said it took three hours for the other rafters to carry her husband out of the rainforest.

They flipped (a) raft upside, cut off the sides, put him on it and duct taped him to it, she said, adding that she didn t even know if he was alive.

All told, it took 15 hours by ground before they reached a neurosurgeon in San Jose. Part of Chad's skull was removed while his brain swelled.

[The procedure] gave room more to his brain by taking out a piece of bone and storing it in his stomach, then they put that back, explained Mischer Neuroscience Institute Neurosurgeon Scott Shepard.

An anonymous donor and many friends joined together to pay for Swenson s air ambulance flight back home.

Swenson never fully regained consciousness. He died at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday night surrounded by family at the Vosswood Nursing home.

His funeral will be Saturday at Chapelwood Methodist United.

Read or Share this story: