Bali rafting accident brings up questionable safety procedures

May 23, 2016
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The tragic death of an Indian tourist caused by a rafting accident is drawing criticism to local rafting safety procedures.

Katir Sheh, 29, was rafting in the Ubud area’s Ayung River when he reportedly fell from the raft. After the fall, Sheh swam over to a rock in front of him, according to Arum Jeram guide Wayan Rasna. Once the guide repositioned the raft, Sheh was suddenly out of sight. Rasna says he tried to find the victim 200 meters downstream without success, while someone else in another raft claims to have spotted Sheh’s sandals floating down the river. 

The body was found around 4 pm on Tuesday with the help of local Ubud police, reported Republika.

Sheh’s wife, Khyti Shah, allegedly accused the Bali Adventure rafting guides of not doing anything when her husband drowned in the Ayung. She thought Sheh could have walked away alive if they had more quickly performed a search, reported Tribun Bali

In response, the chairman of the Association of Water & Maritime Tourism, Ida Bagus Agung Parta Adnyana deferred to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). If someone is lost and cannot be found in under three minutes, call out for help. Adnyana alleges the guides followed SOP but may have delayed the call for help in a state of panic. 

Apparently the manager of Bali Adventure, Tiwi, previously promised insurance to finance the return of the body to family and relatives. However, when questioned about the extent to which her guides run SOP rescue, Tiwi shook her head saying she did not know, reported Tribun Bali

An autopsy at Sanglah hospital on Tuesday night revealed bruises on the right side of Sheh’s temple, but that’s not believed to be the cause of his death, said Dr. Ida Bagus Putu Alit from the hospital’s forensics. However, the autopsy also showed signs of drowning marked with swollen and puffy lungs and wrinkled and bruised fingers, from being submerged too long. 

Photo: Flickr/Sue Waters

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