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River of No Return

Rafting Trip on Bali River Ends Tragically for Chinese Tourist Liu Yuan Yuan.

(5/27/2011) Tragedy befell a Chinese tourist rafting on the Tukad Melangit river in Klungkung, Northeast Bali, on Monday, May 23, 2011.

A rubber raft cruising down the river overturned sending four Chinese tourists into the fast-moving currents. As a result of the mishap, according to the Bali Post, one man, Liu Yuan Yuan (32) died while another passenger, Zhang Jun Hua (34), was hospitalized with injuries sustained in the accident. Two other passengers and their guide escaped without injury.

The four were part of a 38-member Chinese tour group who rafted down on the river at 10 am on 9 separate rafts, each accompanied by a trained white-water guide. What was to be a six-kilometer rafting trip ended in tragedy for the man riding in raft number 6.

The owner of Bakas Levi Rafting, Nyoman Levi Suweta, told the Bali Post: “The information i have received from the staff member is that the boat overturned. Because this was their first time, perhaps the passenger panicked when he was trapped beneath the boat and drowned. When he drowned, he possibly ingested river water preventing him from returning to the river’s surface. And, maybe, too, the victim had a history of heart disease.”

The rafting operator insisted that the conditions on the river were conducive, with weather conditions good. The river’s condition was also said to be good, with low quantities of water.

The company insists that the rafting guide had reminded all his passengers to wear helmets, life vests, other safety equipment and joint commands from the guide that must be followed. The marketing director of Bakas Levi Rafting, Nyoman Merta, added: "Maybe the victim was ill-fated. Merta suspect the man corpulent body may have made it difficult for the victim to resurface, resulting in his drowning.

Dead on Arrival

Medical staff at the emergency room of the Klungkung General Hospital told the press that the 32-year-old Chinese man was dead on arrival at their facility at 1:30 pm on Monday. Meanwhile, Zhang Jun Hua was still alive, but needed intensive care due to the amount of water that had been ingested As a result,  Zhang was admitted to the hospital for further care.

Police in Klungkung continue to investigate the death.

Rafting Company's Response Draws Criticism

The death of the Chinese tourist on the a Bali rafting trip has prompted, Eddy Sunyoto, of the Bali Liang Committee from the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Traval Agent (ASITA), to call on the government to strictly enforce the rules on illegal tour operators in Bali and the frequent trading in clients ("jual kepala") practiced by illegal agents serving the Chinese market in Bali.

Supporting Sunyoto’s demand is Hartono, the chairman of the Bali Liang Committee which focuses on the Chinese market. Hartono wants the government to investigate the who handled the dead man’s tour arrangements to ensure the bookings and arrangements were handled by a licensed tour operator who is a registered member of ASITA.

Bali Post say a number of members of the Bali Liang Committee have stated their disappointment with the official response of the Bakas Levi Rafting’s management who have made statements to the press characterizing the death of the man as an accident attributable to the fact he was overweight. Committee members are criticizing the rafting company’s response as both unethical and unsympathetic to the victim’s family. At the same time, others in the Bali Liang Committee have made statements to the press questioning the competency and professionalism of the rafting operator.