SRINAGAR: A Kashmiri boatman saved three tourists from drowning in the Jhelum in Srinagar but was himself swept away after he was allegedly forced to jump back to retrieve their bag, police said on Saturday.
However, the body of the 60-year-old boatman, identified as one Ghulam Mohammad Guroo, was untraced till Saturday, a day after a team of Indian Navy divers joined the search operations.
Police quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the boat capsized during a cruise on the river on Wednesday evening. After saving the three tourists, Guroo dived back and even got hold of the bag but could not swim back to the bank due to exhaustion.
The unidentified tourists, whom other boatmen claimed to have seen coaxing Guroo to dive back into the river, allegedly left the spot in a hurry.
Boating on the iconic Dal Lake and the Jhelum on small boats known as ‘shikaras’ is a must-do for thousands of tourists who visit the scenic Kashmir Valley every year, especially during the summers.
A boat ride on the Jhelum, which meanders through Srinagar, takes visitors past architectural landmarks and both Islamic and Hindu religious sites.
Police, however, said such accidents are rare.
“You have to see his (Guroo’s) age. He was tired after saving the three people but he attempted again without caring for his own self,” a police officer said.