Police Continue to Investigate Tragic Death of Indian Tourist on Ayung River Rafting Trip
Following the death on Monday, November 3, 2014, of a 29-year-old Indian tourist, Bhavik Shah, in a rafting accident on Bali’s Ayung River, Bali Adventure Rating conducted Mecaru and Mekelam ceremonies – cleansing and devotional rituals As reported by Kompas.com, Wayan Sukianten, a spokesman for Bali Adventure Rating, said on Friday, November 7, 2014: “The ceremonies today were conducted in accordance with Hindu teachings.
The purpose is the cleanse the location where the victim died, including the area passed through by the victim prior to his death.” Sukianten described how the Mecaru ritual began at the embarkation point for the rafting trip on the Ayung River. Other rites, including the Mekelem ceremony presented sacred offerings and animal sacrifices, such as a black chicken and a black duck, followed. The offerings were laid at the points in the river where the Indian tourist disappeared and at the location where his body was later discovered.
Finally, more offerings were made at the end point of the Bali Adventure rafting program. The Balinese spokesperson explained that the prayers and offerings were made in accordance with local customs to ensure that the soul of the deceases was not left stranded at the scene of his demise. When the accident occurred, Bhavik Shah was following a rafting trip in the company of six friends traveling in two rubber boats. The first boat carried two married couples and the second carried the remaining two members of the group.
Each boat also carried a certified guide from the rafting company. Wiji, one of the river guides, told how when the boat arrived at a part of the river with swift flowing water and large rocks it was recommended that the tourists go ashore to rejoin the raft a short distance down the river beyond the treacherous passage. The guide explained that the victim and a companion chose to ignore the guide’s recommendations, insisting on staying with the raft attempting to navigate the rapids and large rocks.
The victim later fell out of the raft and into the fast-flowing river. The ill-fated Indian reportedly shifted from one large rock to the next, before disappearing into the current. Nigel Mason, the owner of Bali Adventure Tours, told Metrobali.com that he was grief stricken by the incident, emphasizing that all safety and standard operating procedures were in place at the time of the accident. “It’s been 25 years since I opened Bali Adventure Tours and I am convinced that this incident was purely accidental.
We are members of the Rafting Operators Forum that always prioritizes safety. Everything we do – including safety riding, helmets, and floatation jackets are in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures,’ explained Mason. Bali Adventure Tours denied allegations that they were late in reporting the accident to the authorities, underlining they were committed to fully cooperating with those investigating the incident.
The head of Payangan Police Precinct confirmed to Radar Bali that the incident is under investigation, including interviews by police with all witnesses and the river guides from the rafting company. An autopsy on the dead man’s body was performed before its repatriation to India. Meanwhile, the head of the Gianyar Tourism Office, A.A. Bagus Ari Brahmata pointed to the long-standing excellent safety record of rafting operators on the Ayung River, saying: “Frankly, I was shocked to hear about this incident.
As far as I can recall, for years there has not been a similar accident. Therefore, we will continue to cooperate with the police to determine the actual cause of the tourist’s death.” Brahmata continued saying that among the 12 companies operating on the Ayung River in Gianyar, Bali Adventure Tours is widely considered among the best from a number of aspects. In fact, Bali Adventure is a past recipient of the Bali Cipta Award in recognition of the quality of its service to its customers and its high standards of safety.
“I am always checking. Thus, they received the Bali Cipta Award from the Ministry. That award is because of quality, service and safety standards are all considered the very best. Therefore I was shocked to hear that such an accident could occur,” added Brahmata, The tourism chief for Gianyar cited Bali Adventure and Sobek Rafting for their adherence to local customs and traditions, performing rituals in accordance with Bali Hindu beliefs. Brahmata said he would soon be calling all rafting operators on the river for a precautionary briefing and review on safety and service standards.
source : bali discovery tours