Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka, and is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. It comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. Kitulgala is the base for white-water rafting in Sri Lanka. Located 90km from Colombo (a 2.5 hr drive) Kithulgala is one of most popular attractions for locals as well as tourists.
Many renowned, independent companies advertise this venue as been the most safest adventures, been suitable to amateaurs as well as professionals alike. Some even stating the suitability for 6 year children as well. Through the Kelani River, covering 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids, this so-called thrilling activity comprises of safety gear, modern rafts and a so-called comprehensive safety briefing that these major companies promise to instruct beforehand were never instructed ! Covering a mileage of around 4Kms, The river and its surrounding will make you feel enchanted, a memorable experience that turned into horrific fatal tragedy.
My son, Kavinda Seneviratne aged 23 year, a very loving individual, a professional swimmer who enjoyed adventure left home at 6:30 am on the fateful day on 14th February 2014, Valentines day accompanied by a few of his friends. The package deal that a renowed company provided was off 50%. They arrived at their destination at around 9:30am. Enjoying the day long activities, the group had the best time of their life as their thrills and spills were captured on camera.
Kavinda, contacted his father during lunch time, to let him know that they had finished experiencing the first part of the activities and that the group will not be taking part in the White Water Rafting due to the shallow nature of the river. However, they were advised by the instructing person that the level of the water would rise during the latter part of the day. Kavinda and his group anxiously waited, and waited, until the water level rose and for their safety escort to arrive. He finally arrived at Dusk.
Kavinda and his group started their journey just before 6pm, feeling exhilarated, little did Kavinda know that this was going to be his eternal journey. Having passed the 2/3rds of the journey they approached their final rapid that led the raft to capsize and all of the friends fell into the current which was now strong. When they realized that Kavinda did not respond to the call, the team, now devastated began to search in shock. Hearing the cries of the distressed team, the on looking villagers joined the team to search for Kavinda, Due to fall of dark, the search was met with torches.
Finally, Kavinda’s body was found, his leg stuck under rock and could not be pulled out. Ropes were used to drag the innocent body out.
Due to the negligence, in appropriate training, lack of standards , we lost a valuable son