An Australian family was left traumatized after a rafting experience went wrong in Bali. In an incident that happened just the day before an American tourist went missing during a similar rafting disaster on the same patch of river, the family has come forward to issue a warning and advice to their fellow holidaymakers.
Aimee Everard was on holiday in Bali with her husband and their two young children. They were joined on vacation by her mother, who also came on the rating adventure. Everard has told reporters from the Daily Mail that she went rafting in Bali as a child. She described the experience as ‘so safe it was almost boring’, so she felt it was a great activity for her young children and her mother to participate. Unfortunately, the experience was far from what Everard had experienced back in the day due to recent heavy rains.
Everard told reporters that before she and her family boarded the rafts and she and her husband checked and double-checked with the company that it was safe for their seven and nine-year-olds to join the adventure. The company assured them that the children were old enough as the experience is suitable for children over the age of five.
In a post on Facebook, Everard described the rafting experience to her followers. She explained that the first part of the rafting journey went smoothly but that towards the end of the ride, things turned into a nightmare. Following the tour guide’s instructions, her family paddled the raft toward the bottom of a waterfall. She wrote, ‘Our boat was instantly squished together from front to back, and we were stuck at the bottom of the waterfall in the most powerful water!’.
She went on to explain, ‘Our guide was thrown out, and my Mum was sent straight underwater under the boat, my husband and I clinging to our children…We couldn’t get to my Mum. We were stuck in this suction of water fearing we were going to go under also with our kids’.
The situation went from bad to worse as another raft following behind couldn’t see what was happening beneath the fast flow of the waterfall and pulled into the cascade. This shunted Everard’s boat, causing those on board to capsize too. She described how she and her husband clung to their children and the rocks surrounding the waterfall. They realized they had to focus their attention despite being petrified that her Mum was now out of sight.
Everard continued, ‘We scooped our guide into the boat and managed to get a stray paddle, and two German tourists from the other boat [who were] in the water…we managed to pull the boat into the side and get out with the kids, my husband sprinting through the jungle on the side of the river to keep mum in his sights but to no avail, the river was just too fast!’
In a moment of absolute horror, Everard realized, ‘Mum floated away in front of us, we could do absolutely nothing to get her!’. She described how one of the German tourists ‘selflessly’ threw themselves into a boat and paddled away, launching an immediate search for her Mum, while the rest of the family could only stand by and wait to hear news.
She told reporters, ‘If we jumped in we would have risked drowning also as one boat would not have been able to save both of us!! I stood there with my kids and my husband, not knowing what to do! We were just stranded and helpless…I’ve never felt more helpless or despaired in that moment!’.
Despite fearing the worst, Everard and her husband decided to gather the children and trek up the hillside to safety. A short while after, they heard screams of joy as the hero from Germany, the tour guide, and her mother stood on the river bank shouting up to them. Everard said that she was so relieved that her Mum focused on getting herself out of the water and dreads to think what would have happened if it was one of her children instead.
With weather warnings in place into next week, travelers are advised to be extra cautious about adventure activities, marine tours, swimming, and surfing.
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