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Environmentalist drowns at Mexican resort beach

SAN FRANCISCO The executive director of San Francisco-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network has died in a swimming accident at a beach near Mexico's Pacific coast resort of Puerto Vallarta, police said Friday.

Rebecca Tarbotton, 39, was swimming Wednesday at a beach about a half hour north of Puerto Vallarta when she was caught by a wave and tossed around, said Adan Leyva, spokesman for Puerto Vallarta municipal police.

Leyva said that paramedics tried to revive her after she was brought ashore, but she was dead by the time she reached the hospital.

In a statement on its website Friday, Rainforest Action Network said Tarbotton — who friends called Becky — was travelling with her husband and friends.

"RAN is heartbroken by our loss of Becky, but we are committed to continuing the course that she set for us," Nell Greenberg, the group's spokeswoman, said. "Focusing on our core purpose of protecting forests, moving the country off of fossil fuels and defending human rights through bold, effective, and innovative environmental corporate campaigns."

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Tarbotton took the group's helm in 2010, the first woman to do so.

Rainforest Action Network works with major corporations on environmental projects, and Tarbotton recently brokered an agreement with the Walt Disney Company that changed the way the entertainment giant uses paper, RAN said.

Tarbotton's family said they planned to scatter her ashes off Canada's Hornby Island.