A 23-year-old university student who drowned last week in Kamloops is being remembered for his charismatic smile and positive attitude.
An outpouring of condolences can be found on the Facebook page of Rahul Asnani following his untimely death last Friday.
Emergency crews responded at about 6:30 a.m. to a section of riverbank near Chestnut Avenue and Schubert Drive in North Kamloops after Asnani was swept away in the North Thompson River.
Asnani and two friends had been at the river on May 3, the day after his birthday.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Mathias Van Laer said drowning is believed to be the cause of death, although the BC Coroners Service is now handling the investigation.
“This appears to be nothing less than a truly tragic accident,” he said.
Clarification from police has shed new light on how the Thompson Rivers University student died.
Initial reports indicated the group had been swimming, but RCMP later said the student and his friends were taking photographs near the river when he stepped too far and fell from a steep embankment.
RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie explained the group had waded into the river — apparently admiring the scenery and taking pictures — when Asnani took one step too many and fell off a portion of the river floor that drops off into deeper water.
Asnani’s two companions attempted to reach him and pull him back to shore, but were unsuccessful.
His body was found by an RCMP dive team on Saturday at about 11 a.m., metres from where he was last seen.
Asnani, who is from Adipur, India, had been studying business and economics at Thompson Rivers University.
“Rahul Asnani: your death just proved that sun really sets in water,” Asnani’s roomate, Mubashir Rahman, wrote on Facebook. “Our heart cries for you. We are missing you. You are always alive for us. Your guidance and words will always be remembered.”
“It’s very hard to believe of that sudden and tragic incident. You will be always alive in the best memories of our school and college life. May your soul rest in peace and condolences to family and loved ones,” Gurnani Pratik wrote on Facebook.
Both the university and Kamloops RCMP said they have been in contact with Asnani’s family in India.
“I’m not able to get into the nature of those conversations, as they are private, but TRU is doing what we can to support them during this difficult time,” TRU spokesperson Darshan Lindsay told KTW via email.
She said it’s the university’s understanding the students were out for a morning walk.
The university arranged for counsellors and elder and chaplaincy support to be in place on Monday and will host a candlelight vigil for Asnani outside the campus activity centre on Tuesday evening.
Van Laer cautioned that with summer months approaching, anyone with little or no swimming experience should never approach water without proper safety gear and supervision.