A young Delhi man inspired by YouTube videos of adventure sports drowned while rafting on the Ganga river in Rishikesh on Thursday. The survivors of the rafting tragedy claim their guides were inexperienced and refused to help.
Subhash Kumar (35) and his cousins were taking a turn on the “Golf Course Rapids”, usually negotiated only by professionals, when their raft capsized.
Another rafting team passing by managed to rescue the six men, but Kumar had taken in too much water and died.
Kumar and his five cousins were on a short road trip and decided to try rafting for the first time. The cousins opted for a 20-km rafting run, from Shivpuri to Ramleela. In the middle of this stretch, they encountered dangerous rapids.
Two guides and three tourists were aboard the raft along with Kumar and his five cousins. One cousin, Vijay, claimed one of their guides was only 15 years old and completely inexperienced. “The other told us how to navigate the rapids for the first few minutes, but then started asking us for Rs 1,800 to make a video. We told him we didn’t want it. He grew annoyed and even threw something at us,” he said.
“He stopped helping us, soon after which we were stuck in the Golf Course Rapids,” Vijay said. Experts say that on a scale of one to four, the Golf Course Rapids are ranked at three (experienced paddling skills), whereas Grade I requires only basic experience and Grade IV requires white water experience.
The six cousins on board the raft toppled over. “We begged the other rafters and guides to help us, including our own guides who had managed to get away, but nobody came forward,” Vijay added.
When one did stop, the rafters threw Vijay a rubber tyre; Vijay’s brother also managed to board the same raft. Three others lived thanks to their lifejackets.Kumar was the last to be pulled out; he had ingested too much water. The others tried to resuscitate him. They took him to a government hospital nearby where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.