Bhutan Scouts Association mourned with the rest of Bhutanese after seven young boys aged 10 to 14 years of age, including three Scouts, died when a gush of water of Wangchu river washed them away on 26th July 2009.
Scouts numbering to 198 and 4 Unit Leaders of Jigme Namgyal Lower Secondary School walked over one kilometer to reach Dema Lhakhang, a temple situated at the heart of Thimphu city where they turned the prayer wheels thrice, lit butter lamps and prayed for the seven school boys who lost their lives on that ill-fated day.
The fatalities were Tashi Penjor, 10; Sonam Pelgay, 12; Sangay Dawa, 13; Sangay Phuntsho, 14; Tashi Phuntsho, 14; Pema Sonam, 14 and Kinley Rinzin, 14.
Reports said of the eight students of Tshimalakha lower secondary school, the only survivor was Tshering Samten, an 18-year-old student who said that they walked for about two hours downhill to get to the swimming spot, two kilometers downstream of the Chukha hydro project dam site. They swam for a few hours, crossed the river and had lunch. Before they could cross over to the other side, the river already started rising.
Though the lone survivor managed to get help and the rescue team made a desperate attempt to pull the young boys to safety who were huddled together on a rock in the middle of the muddy and swollen river, a sudden gush of water swept them away from the stone.
Lyonpo Thakur S Powdel, the Education Minister visited the victims' families and in Thimphu, a thousand butter lamps were lit for the loss of innocent lives headed by the prime minister.
The World Scout Bureau Asia-Pacific Regional office had already conveyed its condolence to the families of the victims and to the Chief Commissioner Chencho Dorji of Bhutan Scouts Association.
-- photos by Ms Sonam Yangden