White Water Rafting in Kitulgala Undergrad’s dreams shattered during Rafting expedition

Published : 9:18 am  May 3, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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A lot of safety instructions must be followed when indulging in White Water Rafting

‘During an emergency, hold on to the safety rope of the rafter and bend towards the inside of the raft’, were the instructions given to us by the raftsman of the raft when we boarded it. Seven of us boarded this raft. As we proceeded and while moving through boulders the right side of the raft knocked against a boulder. As a result of the impact the raft overturned and Chanaka and Kanishka got caught in the gushing water and drifted away.   

  • As a result of the impact the raft overturned and Chanaka and Kanishka got caught in the rushing water
  • Kanishka had been a student at the Engineering Faculty of Moratuwa University
  • The raft in which Kanishka was travelling met with an unforeseen accident at the time the raft was moving on the gushing water. 

This is how Thisara Kavinda explained what had happened at the river at the inquest held into the death of Kanishka Dilshan Weerakoon (23) who was drowned in the Kelani River at Kithulgala when he engaged in White Water Rafting.   

Kanishka had been a student at the Engineering Faculty of Moratuwa University. He had ventured on an expedition with a group comprising fellow students. This expedition was on the Kelani River. In other words they were going to indulge in White Water Rafting.   

Kanishka had left home on April 20th bidding farewell to his friends. His father had taken him by a tuk tuk to the pickup point where he was to meet his friends and then proceed on this exciting trip. Kanishka and his friends were all staying in the same boarding and were very close friends. On arriving at the Pettah Bus Stand they had all boarded a bus heading towards Nawalapitiya. Their destination however was Kithulgala, a tourist hotspot situated on the way to Nawalapitiya. There were thirteen of them. Arriving at the scenic spot they arranged with two raftmen to take them on the river journey. After putting on the safety jackets and helmets they were pooled into two groups. One raft was to carry six of them and the other seven.   

Kanishka Dilshan Weerakoon

The excitement mounted as two groups get onto the rafts and listened to the safety instructions. They were briefed about the ride and told how to act during an emergency. They listened impatiently and everyone seemed thrilled to have this novel experience. The raft in which Kanishka was travelling met with an unforeseen accident at the time the raft was moving on the gushing water. He was caught under the overturned boat and drowned. Performing artificial respiration was not possible as he had already died of asphyxia.   

Kanishka, a resident of Katuwellegama area, lived with his parents and only sister. He had had his initial education at Harischandra College Negombo. After excelling at the Year Five Scholarship Examination he had received an opportunity to continue his education at Gamapaha Bandaranaike College where he obtained 3 ‘A’ passes at the Advanced Level Examination. He had received the third highest marks from the Gampaha District and qualified to enter Moratuwa University. Enjoyimg the benefits of the Mahapola Scholarship funds he soon became a leading student at the university.   

His father is a retired police officer while his mother is employed at the Watupitawela Hospital.   

The much anguished parents lament that Kanishka’s dream of providing for the family after finding employment one day had been shattered. 

(Courtesy Sunday Deshaya)

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