COMMENT: The third death follows the tragic loss of Melbourne resident Daniel Eimutis, 19, who died in a tubing accident in Vang Vieng two weeks ago. In the same month, Sydney resident Lee Hudswell, 26, was also killed while tubing in Vang Vieng.
Earlier today, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued the following advice (http://www.dfat.gov.au):
"Extreme caution is recommended if undertaking river-based sporting activities, including in Vang Vieng. Tourists, including Australians, have been killed or seriously injured while participating in river-based activities such as tubing or jumping into the river. River levels can vary during the year and the presence of debris in the river can make diving or jumping into the river dangerous...See our Partying Overseas travel bulletin for advice on some of risks and tips on avoiding becoming a victim.
The safety standards Australians might expect of tour operators are not always met, especially when undertaking adventure sports. 'Fast boat' river travel, in particular, can be dangerous due to excessive speed and natural hazards.
Unexploded ordnance is prevalent in many parts of Laos, particularly in Xieng Khouang province (location of The Plain of Jars) and the Lao-Vietnamese border areas along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Straying from established walking paths and roads can be dangerous as affected areas are often unmarked. Australians traveling independently (not part of a tour group) should contact provincial or district offices, which can provide information on traveling to specific areas. Tourists who wish to camp must obtain permission from local authorities in advance..."
This report will be updated as new information becomes available.