Hiking had always had a special meaning for Josh Byrne and his wife, Bianca. He had proposed to her on the side of a mountain, and after they got married this month, the two took off for Costa Rica with a plan to explore the nation’s trails.
But tragedy struck Friday when the Hudson couple got caught up in flood waters while traveling along the country’s western coast: Bianca made it to safety, but Byrne, 30, was swept away.
“They are perfect . . . they knew they were right for each other,” said Diane Hunt, Byrne’s aunt, in a phone interview Sunday. “They just didn’t have enough time together.”
The couple were driving across a bridge on the west coast of Costa Rica called Playa Dominicalito when they were caught in a flash flood, a family friend told WCVB-TV. Searchers found his body Saturday, Hunt said.
Heavy rains fell on western Costa Rica Thursday and Friday, according to the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica.
Hunt told the Globe that Byrne’s father and brother flew down to Costa Rica on Friday to help search for him.
Byrne’s brother was there when searchers with the Costa Rica Red Cross found Byrne’s body around 1 p.m. Saturday. He called his mother with the tragic news, Hunt said.
Now, instead of celebrating the earliest days of their marriage, Byrne’s family is working to bring his body home by Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Hunt.
Hunt said her family has received support from Hudson residents, along with government officials, and searchers working in Costa Rica.
“Josh holds a special place in all of our hearts and will always be remembered for his helpful and caring demeanor, his ability to make friends in any setting, and his love for his wife, Bianca,” Hunt’s family said in a statement posted to an online fund-raising site to help pay for expenses related to his death.
Byrne was a lifelong Hudson resident and sports fan, especially of hockey, which he played as a boy, Hunt said. Some pictures of Byrne on social media show him dressed in a Bruins jersey or wearing a Red Sox cap.
Byrne also enjoyed music, and that interest extended to his job at SJC Custom Drums in Southbridge, Hunt said.
In a Facebook post from August, the company said that Byrne had worked there for 11 years and praised him for his efforts.
“Thank you Josh for your hard work, passion, enthusiasm, pride, skills, and for the countless hours you’ve put in to make our company, culture, and product what is it today,” the post said.
Byrne’s job at SJC was to make sure “manufacturing is running as smoothly as possible,” he said in a 2016 video posted to Facebook.
“Outside of work, I love to hang out with my friends, grab a drink or two, and grill food as much as possible,” he said. “I love working here because it’s always a good environment and I get to work with drums and music all day.”
Byrne leaves behind a close-knit family, including his wife, father, mother, and brother, Hunt said. He was also close to his cousins, who Hunt said were like brothers to Byrne.
“He is going to be missed tremendously . . . there is a hole in our family,” Hunt said.
Aimee Ortiz of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John Hilliard can be reached at email@example.com.