Anguish grows and hopes fade as the hours pass in an attempt to find Denise, an 18-year-old student who ended up in the torrential waters of the Lao River during a rafting descent. The accident while Denise was with a group of companions. The heavy rains of the last few days had caused a flood of the river.
According to the first reconstructions, the rubber boat on which the boys were located hit a boulder violently, causing four of them to fall into the water. Three of them were promptly recovered, but Denise lost all trace. Fortunately, all the young men wore prescribed safety equipment, including helmets, life jackets and wetsuits.
The alarm was given by one of the guides who was on a second dinghy along with other participants. Firefighters were immediately alerted and search operations were started immediately. In addition to the fire brigade, the Alpine Speleo Unit and various voluntary associations were also mobilized. The operators of the 118 helicopter rescue, the forestry carabinieri and those of the Castrovillari Station also arrived at the scene of the accident. An Air Force helicopter, coming from Gioia del Colle, landed on the nearby landing pad, recently built for emergencies.
Denise was part of a school group from Polistena, in the Reggio area. The students attend the state high school "Giuseppe Rechichi" and were in the province of Cosenza accompanied by some teachers of physical education for several days. Tonino Bongiovanni, vice-principal of the high school, expressed deep concern and anxiety for his students. "Our hope is that we will receive positive news as soon as possible. It is not the first time that we organize this type of activity and nothing like this has ever happened," said Bongiovanni.