SRINAGAR: A Kashmiri adventure sports agent is being hailed as a brave-heart after he rescued five tourists from the raging waters of Lidder river in Pahalgam tourist resort last night. Recently married, Rouf Dar himself died in the process.

Rafting is a popular adventure sport in Kashmir. Cloudbursts spiked the water levels in the river and the waters swept Dar’s raft along with five tourists. Being an experienced swimmer, he managed to save the tourists and bring each of them to the banks.

“He was however swept by the waves. Despite nightlong rescue operation by the district administration, disaster management department and security forces, he could not traced. This morning, his body was retrieved from the river near Bhawani bridge,” Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Khalid Jehangir said.

Rouf has earned accolades on the social media and in the Valley for placing his professional duties ahead of his personal safety. ‘Kashmiriyat’ the defining spirit of the Valley is being hailed, with the state administration also being praised for its prompt response.

“This is the true spirit of Kashmiriyat. Rouf could have swam to safety but he choose what was the right thing to do, to rescue those who trusted him with their lives. Rest in peace, brave-heart. Your sacrifice is inspirational,” Rameez Ashraf, who works in a hotel in Pahalgam, wrote on Facebook.

Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, who holds charge of tourism department said Rouf will be awarded posthumously. Commending the act, Ganai said that his family will be provided ex gratia relief.

“It is a commendable act. In the face of such a tragedy, few people will choose to do what he did. The state administration is indebted to this brave heart for rescuing the tourists and we will make sure that his sacrifice doesn’t go in waste,” Ganai said.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the victim’s native Yeenad village, who was married recently, as soon as the news of his death spread on Saturday morning.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, his sister is seen embracing his body, asking, “For whom have you left us here, my brother.” His father works as a manager in a hotel in Pahalgam.

Rafting is one of the most popular adventure sports in Pahalgam where the Lidder river, fed by the majestic Kolahoi glacier, provides an ideal setting.