In a worrying development with the onset of the summer monsoons, a 45-year-old official from the Department of Forestry died after falling into the Phochhu while he was patrolling the river in a boat in Punakha.
Police said the incident occurred at around noon on Friday below Tsekha village under Toedwang Gewog in Punakha.
Sources said the deceased was rocked out of the boat by a strong current and was washed away more than 200 metres downward. He was immediately rescued by his friends and taken to Punakha hospital where the doctor said he was brought in dead.
Apart from the deceased, sources said another 28-year-old forester who was also in the patrolling group had dived into the river to save the deceased but was also washed away around two to three kilometres by the river.
However, he was saved by locals, police and DeSuups while the other person couldn’t be saved on time.
According to the Chief Forest Officer of Punakha, the deceased was on his regular river patrolling trip along with nine other forest officials from the Wangdue Forest Division.
They began their river patrolling by rafting in two boats from Samdingkha. Every two to three months, forest officials conduct river patrolling to control illegal fishing and other forestry-related activities.
pic: file photo