• May 10, 23
  • Albrafting

While the team of Albania Rafting Group was accompanying their tourists for rafting in the canyons of Osum, they saw the unconscious body of a man. They approached urgently and started to mention him after the woman Mrs. Helma Schurmmans was in a state of shock and without breathing. She was without a life jacket, without a diving suit, without a thermal suit and a thermal sweatshirt, which are the necessary equipment for rafting, kayaking and exploring the canyon. Her body was very cold and the guides immediately gave her first aid and dressed her in professional clothes, removing them from their body as she was in a state of hyperthermia.
At first she was not able to speak but after 1 hour she told the guides that she should find her husband because he was left in the canyon.
The professional rafting guides took Helma to the Corovode hospital where she received medical help and is out of danger for her life. The professional rafting guides entered several times on Monday until the late hours of the evening, but they could not find her husband. The search by the team of Albania Rafting and the Albanian Rafting Federation continued on Tuesday and continues today where together with the Renea forces they are searching for the body in the canyon.

The President of the Albanian Rafting Federation, Mr. Zamo Spathara, who has been developing the sport of Rafting and exploring Canyons in Albania for 22 years, has always focused on strict safety measures and the training of professional guides in the special specialty of rafting and Canyon exploration in the territory of Albania.

In Albania Adventure tourism is very fragile and growing rapidly and we have the responsibility to maintain the image of a country with standards and safety. This requires that the state institutions and relevant ministries invest by cooperating strongly with the outdoor sports federations to form quality guides for our tourists, inform foreign tourists about the danger and the necessary equipment they need to explore natural resources and of course for dangerous places such as canyons, rivers, no tourist is allowed to enter without the accompaniment of a professional guide trained by the Albanian Rafting Federation and without the proper equipment.

It is not the first time that we have saved the lives of tourists in canyons and rivers. We have not often made it a media event because it would spoil the good image of Albania, but we have immediately notified the relevant institutions and the police. We often find terrified tourists in rivers and canyons without safety measures and without the company of professional local guides.

It is a frequent and ordinary phenomenon that local and foreign tourists accompanied by pseudo-guides (guides not certified and trained for the special specialties of rafting and canyon exploration) enter rivers and canyons for rafting or canyon exploration ( canyons are closed and dangerous rocky territories) without thermal suits, thermal sweatshirts, life jackets and scuba diving, endangering the lives of tourists (the case of the 25-year-old Albanian tourist who lost her life inside the Holta canyon and the case of the Albanian tourist who lost her life in Black Drin, who if they had worn life jackets and diving suits would still be alive)

The media report that tourists lose their lives but do not analyze why?!!!

The media should join the Federation and help raise awareness and educate tourists who cannot do water activities without safety measures and the company of guides trained by the Rafting Federation.

Since 2011, the AFHR has been in charge of rafting safety in Albania, overseeing the certification and training of professional river rafting guides. FSHR works closely with various government bodies, offering courses and certification programs aimed at developing national standards in line with global best practices, to keep everyone safer on rafting excursions. FSHR is a member of the World Rafting Federation.

For 22 years, we have dedicated our lives to the tourist spot of rafting, exploring the canyons and promoting unknown places such as the Osum canyons and the Vjosa river, which today are the 2 most famous destinations in Albania thanks to our work. Today we have set up teams and trained guides in Përmet, Elbasan, Dibër and Berat at zero cost for everyone.

In 2000, when we started rafting, it was very difficult, but Zamo Spathara together with his team managed to develop rafting with European standards and make it one of the most famous sports for all Albanians and foreign tourists. We have promoted Rafting in arenas. internationally, we have participated in three World Championships, competing with the best in the world, proudly raising the Albanian flag for our excellent standards and image. We have organized National Rafting Championships promoting nature and sport. We have been declared a success story by the American Embassy for the protection of Albania's water resources and for increasing public awareness of environmental issues through ecotourism, winner of the ACT Now! Champion Award. We have protected Osum Canyons and the Vjosa River from hydropower plants.

I am happy that during rafting for 22 years we have not had any injuries or lost lives while accompanying tourists with guides trained by the Albanian Rafting Federation.

Rafting is a beautiful discipline but very complex and dangerous if the guides are not trained and have the right experience.