3 boys drown after being swept away in Gifu river


Police said Tuesday that the bodies of three boys who were swept away by strong currents in the Kiso River in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, on Monday afternoon, have been found.

The bodies were found on the river bed about 400 meters downstream from where the boys went under, police said. The depth was about 8 meters.

The three boys—two aged 9 and one aged 12—were playing with a fourth boy at the river at around 3 p.m. Monday, Fuji TV reported. Three of them went swimming and got swept away by a strong current, police said.

A search failed to locate them on Monday afternoon and about 300 emergency rescue personnel, police and volunteers resumed their search Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

After the weekend’s heavy rain, many rivers have swollen and prefectural authorities issued flash flood warnings.

The father of one of the missing boys said he had warned his son not to go swimming in the river because it was dangerous and the boy had said he understood, Fuji reported.

Japan Today

  • -11


    Is 12 a "young" child?

    RIP because let's be honest, these kids are not going to be found alive. I have zero issues with a 12 year old playing by a river IF they can swim. Nine years olds? Not okay of there are no adults. Poor parents.

  • 5


    The father of one of the missing boys said he had warned his son not to go swimming in the river because it was dangerous and the boy had said he understood, Fuji reported.

    What a sad story. The poor father. When I think of all the stupid and dangerous things I did at that age and the hurt I could have given my parents, I feel a deep sadness for both the kids and their families.

    Poor parents.

    Many, many times I find myself agreeing with your assessments of parenting, but I question what you think the parents could have done in this case. If the parents were aware and let their kids swim in a river unsupervised, you would certainly have a point, but I don't see that this is the case here.

  • -2


    "Poor parents" is equal to you "your father" comment. The dad told his son to stay away. I certainly don't expect the parents to hover nine year olds and 12 year olds.

  • -4


    "poor father"

  • 8

    Amanda Ryall

    My Australian husband and I swam in this river once and were surprised by the strong currents. We were both good swimmers but found it a dangerous current at times. I feel very sorry for the families.

  • 1


    Rivers right across the region are essentially in flood or certainly swollen due to the recent rains, I feel desperately sorry for the father detailed in the story and parents of these children. Any parents worst nightmare.

  • 5


    This is such an unfortunate situation. The loss of a child is something that no parent is prepared to handle. It can be heart-wrenching for both the mother and father to lose their precious child, for whom they have weaved so many dreams. I'm so sorry for their loss.

  • 3


    How terrible! The warnings of heavy rains have been on tv every day lately. Maybe they need to reinforce the warnings in school. Kids are stupid and need to reminded again and again. My thoughts are with the poor boys` families.

  • 2


    "Poor parents" is equal to your "poor" father" comment.

    I see. In my defense, you wrote this before "poor parents":

    Nine years olds? Not okay of there are no adults.

    So, I inadvertently assumed the three thoughts went together.

    At any rate, it is a sad story all around.

  • 3

    Brenda E Henderson

    So sad - a local boy where I work drowned while swimming in a local lake on a hot day - kids have always done it and sadly, some lose their lives - it's NOT the parents' fault, I feel so sorry for them.

  • -6


    No worries slum. Can see how you thought that. I don't think parents can or should be hovering over their kids when they are nine and 12. You can educate them and if they don't listen... I feel sorry for these parents. Kids here seriouslu need to learn how to swim not paddle in one meter deep pools. The river is huge, fast and really isn't any place for kids.

  • 1


    I am saddened by this news. I told a number of people in Japan that this weather is dangerous, but most just seem to shrug it off (my experience anyway).

  • 1


    RIP and prayers to the

  • 4


    3 boys drown after being swept away in Gifu river

    Sad, I hope that the children's families find peace.

  • 2


    RIP to the kids, and my heart goes out to the families, but WHY do we have to read about this daily come summer? I can understand kids sneaking away and playing where they shouldn't but cannot fathom the lack of emphasis on or enforcement of not allowing kids to play in rivers formed by drainage ditches or that constantly have flash floods.

  • -2


    In an Island country like this, why oh why isn't swimming education compulsory for all children. In NZ, another Island nation, no children leaves primary school not being a competent swimmer.

  • -1

    Ms. Alexander

    Sad story. I agree with you smith, stories like this happens way to often when summer starts.

    igloobuyer, swimming is taught in schools here but only during the summer months. But swimming in pools and swimming in the river are completely different. There are no sudden currents to take you away in the pool. Swimmer or not, that's hard to stay in control of - let alone if you're a kid.

    Pool or river, there should ALWAYS be adult supervision!

  • 2


    why oh why isn't swimming education compulsory for all children

    It is. Most JHS/HS schools have swimming pools. The issue is the quality of the teachers and what they teach. The pools are also about waist deep which means that people are used to just being able to put their foot down when they need to. I have sat and watched lessons and they are so poor there really is no point to them.

  • 1

    Jeff Ogrisseg

    WHY do we have to read about this daily come summer?

    Exactly! Next will be a flash-flood tragedy involving families camping on a riverbed, followed by more people drowning in heavy surf, nearly all of which could have been avoided with an ounce of forethought. It happens every year, despite (or maybe because of) the incessant danger warnings about everything anywhere you go in Japan.

    We don't know exactly what the father said to the son, but it's an inescapable fact that the boy didn't heed the intended message. The father didn't explain it forcefully or thoroughly enough, and that's going to haunt him forever.

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