Chencho Dema | Punakha

A 24-year-old de-suup drowned while attempting to save one of his friends who was drowning in Mochhu, Punakha at around 11am yesterday.

The incident occurred at Phaduna, not far from the DeSuung Skilling Programme (DSP) campus in Punakha. A 25-year-old de-suup from Pemagatshel, a roommate of the deceased who also witnessed the incident, reported it to Punakha police.

The Search and Rescue Team, which had travelled from Thimphu, recovered the body of the deceased at 6:20pm a few meters away from where he attempted to save his friend.

Seven de-suups enrolled in the Robotics programme at DSP went to the Mochhu bank, which is about 10 minutes walk from the centre, to wash their cloths and swim.

One of the friends went swimming after washing his cloths and began drowning, according to the 25-year-old eyewitness.

“At first, we thought he was joking, but when he began to drown, the deceased and another friend jumped into the river and tried to save him but both were stuck and struggling to stay afloat,” he said.

The other friends on the bank tried to swim towards them, but they were unsuccessful because the river was too deep.

“A tourist rafting team happened to be passing by at that moment, and we yelled for help. The two friends were saved by one of the rafters, but sadly, the deceased after rising to the surface once then disappeared,” he said.

He said that they could have saved him but they were too scared and panicked not knowing what to do because the water was too deep.

“Thinking of it just breaks my heart,” he said.  “It’s only been two and a half months since we moved to the centre, and he was a good man. He died young while rescuing his friend, and I’m lost for words.”

The two de-suups who survived were taken to Punakha hospital.

The deceased’s body was afterwards handed over to a relative who had come from Thimphu. The deceased was from Sarpang. His parents were informed and were en route to Punakha from Sarpang when the paper was sent to print.

The DSP at Phaduna has 260 de-suups.