The search will continue today from 7.30 am

Update: The search team in Bumthang was not able to find the body of the 26-year-old guide who drowned in Mebartsho, Bumthang on November 4 despite a daylong search yesterday.

Bumthang dzongdag Phub Tshering said that the 40-member search team comprising dzongkhag officials, police and DeSuup volunteers combed all the areas until 5.30pm but could not spot the body. The search will continue today from 7.30am.

“We suspect that the body could have drowned in the whirlpool that is said to be really deep,” said the dzongdag.

The guide from Bongo, Chukha had jumped in the lake to rescue a French tourist who had slipped and fell into the lake while taking photographs. While the guide managed to push the tourist ashore, he drowned. Another touristswho had also jumped in the lake along with the guide to rescue the tourist managed to come out safely.

The 66-year-old tourist died a few minutes later from excess water inhalation. The tourist travelled to Bumthang as a part of 15-member group.

The body of the tourist arrived in Paro yesterday.

Meanwhile, board members of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators met yesterday to discuss the issue. It was decided that the association would initiate a voluntary contribution from the member tour operators for the guide. Besides, ABTO will also raise the safety issue with the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

The association is also exploring ways to generate a fund or insurance policy for guides should such incidents occur in future.  Similarly, the Guides Association of Bhutan (GAB) also initiated a voluntary fund collection in honor of the guide. “We solicit the help and support from all our guides and tour operators in this endeavor,” GAB’s executive director Namkhai Norbu said. “What the guide had done, trying to save another life, is exemplary. He will be remembered for his valor and gallantry.”

Kinga Dema