University Student Dies After River Rafting Boat Capsizes

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Gunma prefectural police headquarters

A 19-year-old university student died after a rafting boat capsized in the Tone River in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, on Friday.

Keisuke Honda, a first-year university student from Ina, Saitama Prefecture, went missing after he fell into the water around 3:55 p.m. Friday, and was found about 300 meters downstream around 6 a.m. Saturday, according to the Gunma prefectural police’s Numata Police Station.

He was rushed to a hospital where he was later confirmed dead.

According to the police station, a total of seven people — six passengers, including Honda, plus an employee of the company operating the rafting boat — were on the boat.

Near Suwakyo Ohashi bridge, where the river flow accelerates, the boat capsized. All seven aboard were thrown into the water, and Honda went missing.

Officers of the police station were investigating the cause of the accident.

According to the company operating the rafting boats, the boat that capsized was sailing on a course which is about 8 kilometers long on what was to have been an hourlong trip.

At the time of the accident, a total of three rafting boats were sailing in a line, and the boat bringing up the rear capsized due to waves in the river water, sources said.

People on the boats were wearing life jackets and helmets when they got aboard.