The Rwanda National Police (RNP) marine unit has retrieved the body of the student at Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC)-Karongi, who drowned in Lake Kivu on Tuesday evening.
The deceased, Claude Uwarugira, 25, a third year student in mechanical engineering, went missing at about 4pm as he was swimming with other colleagues in the lake, about 2km from the college.
At exactly 9:58am on Wednesday, May 11, a team of two Police marine divers resurfaced from the waters with the body of the deceased, seven minutes after they commenced the diving search.
Police Marine commanding officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Elias Mwesigye said that the body was recovered about 10 metres deep on the side of Ruganda Village, Kiniha Cell, Bwishyura Sector.
“The deceased had gone swimming with three other students but his colleagues called the Police after they could not see him on the spot near the shores where he was swimming from,” said ACP Mwesigye.
Fellow students said that he was a beginner swimmer. They narrated that as a beginner; he stayed near the shores but could not see him few moments later.
Following the incident, Police, local authorities and IPRC-Karongi administration met with the students and communities residing along the lake in Kiniha cell and urged them to take precautionary measures to avoid such disasters.
“This is a big loss to the family, college and the country in general. Water bodies can be good for business and social life but they can also be dangerous. Always swim from the allocated spots which are safer, wear life-jackets and never go or stay alone when you are swimming,” ACP Mwesigye said.
This is the second drowning incident involving a student from IPRC-Karongi, following another one last year.
Dominique Ingabire, IPRC-Karongi Principal, said that the college is taking more precautionary measures, including awareness to prevent similar incidents.
“For starters, we are sensitizing our students but we have also put warning tapes along the dangerous spots near the college. We are also considering creating a safer swimming spot close to the college, allocate specific swimming days and hours, and put there people, who will be on lookout to prevent drowning,” Ingabire said.