Body of the drowned guide yet to be recovered

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

2 replies
  1. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    I pay respect to the Young guide of Mebarstho visit
    I pay respect to the old tourist who made an error bending himself too much over the lake .
    Nevertheless , beyond his beautiful self-sacrificing , the guide might have known that , when jumping in the water , he did not how to swim . Because , even taken down with a whirpool , there is a technic to go up on the surface . That consist to breath a great quantity of air just before swept down by the Whirlpool ; and lead oneself go down ( the current of a whirlpool is too strong for human muscles ) . And when getting the bottom of the the river , in the hole which is resonsible of the Whirlpool , you kick violently the bottom of the river , to get away from the Whirlpool and get out in the fresh air.

    When I passed my first degree of swimming , the instructor learn us , in a torrent , to get out of this situation ; ; he throwed an old bicycle in the middle of a Whirlpool ; and us , student in swimming , we had to dive and get the bicycle out of the water some meters by the side of the whirlpool . If we passed this test sucessfully , we were qualified at level I . Obviously , during that test , an instructor was near us to care over us in case of difficulties .
    And another test , level II , was how to rescuscitate a drowned swimmer . all thoses tests were supervised by Red Cross instructors .

    I suggest that a test must be implied for the guide when they lead tourist . And more when tourist are old.

    TCB authorities must gradually phase with the guide training . According me it is urgent .
    And a monitoring team inspection of TCB must seriously check the license of each TCB guide more than once a year .

    jcmignien@oranga.fr

  2. amrithdiary
    amrithdiary says:

    While it’s a tragic moment for the families of both the guide and the deceased tourist, I feel this is a strong reminder that people must also be very careful at dangerous sites like this one. I had also visited the lake in September last time and the environment as such does not appear to be too risky. We just need to be aware that we can’t afford to be too careless around the lake. I agree that additional safety measures must be put in place but more urgently, we must be more careful when we go there. It’s actually not as risky as it is thought to be.

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