An American tourist in Bali had to be rescued and evacuated from Aling-Aling Waterfall on Wednesday, 2nd November. Despite calls from fellow tourists visiting the waterfall not to try and climb the dangerous rock face, the tourist persisted and ended up with serious injuries.
The 22-year-old traveler, known only by his initials DJS, was exploring the Aling-Aling Waterfall in Sambangan Village in Buleleng on Wednesday. The traveler is believed to have been visiting Aling-Aling Waterfall alone, though there were other tourists and tour guides in the area.
According to local reporters, DJS arrived at Sambagan Village around 11.30 am. At about 12.15 pm, he arrived at Aling-Aling Waterfall and was desperate to climb to the top of the cliff.
He is reported to have been warned of the dangers of climbing the sheer and slippery waterfall rock face by a French tourist who witnessed the situation play out. Despite the warning, DJS proceeded to try and climb the rocks. He had not got 5m up the rock face when a chunk of rock came free and fell onto his right calf.
Falling hard and with the rock landing right onto his leg, DJS was injured and needed urgent medical care. One report suggests that DJS’s leg was ‘almost severed’ by the fall and impact with the boulder.
Eyewitnesses report hearing DJS’s screams for help. The French tourist immediately ran to his aid and called for further help. Their screams were heard by a local tour guide who was approaching the waterfall from Sambagan Village.
Together they were able to splint DJS’s broken leg to his left leg using towels. They were able to provide compression to reduce bleeding and, steadily, safely evacuated him from Aling-Aling Waterfall back to Sambagan Village, where he was then driven to BaliMed Singaraja Hospital for urgent medical attention.
The Sukasada Police Chief, Kompol Made Agus Dwi Wirawan, told reporters that his teams had visited Aling-Aling Waterfall and Sambagan Village to assess the landscape and take witness statements. He confirmed that DJS is conscious but remains in the hospital undergoing treatment. He said, ‘Currently, the victim is still able to communicate even a little and can answer when asked and say he is from America’.
Despite Aling-Aling Waterfall not having a clear route to climb, the police have asked community leaders to clarify that climbing the cliff face is neither safe nor permitted. He said, ‘We encourage the Ambengan Village and Sambangan Village Tourism Awareness Groups to add hazard warning boards or banners and recommend that tourists invite guides when visiting so as to minimize disasters that occur like the current incident’.
Although many tourists, especially backpackers, like to follow their own lead when exploring Bali, there are many occasions when hiring a tour guide is simply the safest thing to do. While much of Bali is easy and safe to explore solo, many of the more adventurous activities require a guide.
Generally speaking, Aling-Aling Waterfall is considered safe to visit without a guide, provided travelers don’t try to climb the cliff face, but having the insight of a local tour guide can not only makes a day trip more enjoyable but safer too.
DJS is not the only tourist to end up in a predicament after not taking suitable precautions in Bali in recent weeks. On October 28th, two British tourists had to be rescued from Mount Agung. The pair set off on the trail without a guide in the early hours of October 27th. It is believed that weather conditions changed quickly on the volcano, sending the hikers off-piste and into danger.
Fortunately, the Karangasem Search and Rescue team was deployed within minutes of hearing of the two lost tourists. After a 2-hour search, the SAR team safely located the British tourists and accompanied them back to Pasar Agung Temple in Telungbuana, Sebudi Village.
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