The Search and Rescue unit of the Bali Police, the Badung Police Precinct, and the Gianyar Regency continue their search for an American man who went missing while rafting in Ubud, Indonesia on Tuesday October 4th.
Rescue coordinator Komang Sudiarsa suspended the search when night fell, but was restarted on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, ten international visitors, among them 63-year-old American Clifford (Kip) Robinaugh, were given a safety briefing and given life jackets and helmets before setting off on a 12-kilometer (7.4-mile) rafting expedition.
It was estimated that the trip would take 2.5 hours total, with an hour and a half break in the middle. However, their guides had difficulties steering the two rafts down the Ayung River in Bali’s Ubud district.
According to local sources, during the excursion, heavy rain started to fall, which often causes high water. After rains, the river moves faster at high flows and makes some rapids harder to paddle and maneuver.
It’s common for rafts to capsize due to encounters with rocks, hydraulics, or high waves. Skillful steering and strong paddling skills might prevent most capsizes, but Mother Earth does occasionally win the war.
When the first raft overturned, its five occupants tried to swim to the second raft, but the current was too strong.
Nine of the tourists were saved by the two local rafting guides, but Kip vanished.
Police have issued a warning to anybody who lives in the area around the river to be on the lookout for the 63-year-old at all times and to report him immediately to Ubud police if they do.
70 rescuers, including those from the rafting company’s guides, the police, and Bali’s Search and Rescue Agency, searched for Clifford (Kip) Robinaugh.
They have only managed to locate Kip’s boots, lifejacket, and passport at this point. He was married to Michelle Robinaugh, who died suddenly on October 9, 2019, due to an unforeseen illness. Kip threw her ashes into the ocean off the coast of Alaska.
Update: Kip is now presumed dead on October 9, 2022 after a six-day search.
What to Do If a Raft Capsizes or Flips Over While Rafting in Ubud
Safety is a major issue for visitors who plan to go rafting in Ubud. That’s why! White water rafting poses a significant risk of injury if not conducted by trained professionals. Be sure that the rafting company you go with has a solid reputation and that their guides have received adequate training. In the meantime, there are some additional measures you can take to protect yourself. Learn more about how to avoid injury while whitewater rafting below.
Know your swimming techniques
If you’ve never been on a rapid before, you might not know how to move your body if you fall out of the raft. It’s best to go rafting in Ubud assuming you’ll capsize, because you’ll need to know how to swim to get out of distress.
When you’re thrown into rapids, the best way to stay safe is to bend your knees, point your toes downriver, and float on your back. Your legs will cushion your contact when hitting rocks, so you don’t have to worry about tumbling down the fast current.
Always wear a life jacket
Wear a life jacket the whole time. Even if you know how to swim well, you should still wear a life jacket. No questions asked.
Just because it’s hot in Bali doesn’t mean you should unzip or unbuckle your life jacket.
Always make sure your buckles are done right, because it could mean the difference between staying afloat and having your jacket ripped off as soon as a strong current picks you up.