CORRECTION: A earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that boots and a passport belonging to Clifford “Kip” Robinaugh were recovered at the scene. No boots were found and Mr. Robinaugh’s passport was located in the hotel where he was staying, according to relatives.
Family members and friends of a local outdoor enthusiast and former bookstore owner have been anxiously awaiting more news this week as national news sources are reporting that the Bellefontaine resident is missing after he fell into a fast-flowing river while whitewater rafting on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali.
Clifford N. “Kip” Robinaugh, 63, was among a group of 10 foreign tourists in two rafts on the Ayung River when they encountered trouble Monday in hilly terrain in the Ubud district of Bali.
The water level suddenly increased, triggering a strong current that caused one of the rafts to flip over, local police chief Gusti Ngurah Yudistira said in an Associated Press story.
The five tourists who had been riding in it tried to reach the second raft, causing it to overturn, too, sending all 10 tourists into the raging waters, Yudistira said.
Two local rafting guides with them managed to rescue nine of the tourists, but Robinaugh went missing.
A search team involving about 70 rescuers from Bali’s Search and Rescue Agency, police and the rafting company’s guides combed the waters Tuesday and resumed early Wednesday, but so far had not found Robinaugh, previous news reports stated.
However, search parties found a life vest on the river. A photo published in RadarBali.com showed a life vest bearing the name of the “Ayung Dewata” rafting company was recovered by searchers.
Yudistira related that authorities have notified villagers along the river to pay attention in their daily activities and immediately report to authorities if they see a body.
Friday, Slaven related the challenge of obtaining information about the search in the international location.
“Nobody has contacted me regarding my stepfather as far as officials go. It’s been hard to get any sort of info. I’ve tried to call the U.S. Embassy and I’ve been tried to call down in Bali, Indonesia.”
Slaven, a daughter of Robinaugh’s late wife, Michelle, who passed away Oct. 9, 2019, said she believed that Kip went to Bali to scatter some of her mother’s ashes.
Earlier this year, Robinaugh also posted via Facebook about scattering his wife’s ashes in the Alaskan Ocean. Kip and Michelle enjoyed sharing outdoor adventures together, Slaven noted. Photos of the pair together on social media showed their love of hiking.
On Facebook, Slaven also pleaded for additional information about her stepfather. “ If anyone knows anything, please let me know.”
The family is going through this difficulty also at the time of the third anniversary of Michelle’s passing this Sunday, Slaven related.
After her death in 2019, Kip, former owner of Peach Tree Books and Company, made it a practice for some time to remember his wife by changing his Facebook profile pictures to photos of Michelle, a longtime nurse who worked at Logan Acres before her death.
“I know in my heart all of my wife’s family and friends have enjoyed these pictures and it was both a way of sharing and honoring her. I’m sure everyone noticed there isn’t a single picture she wasn’t smiling in. And that smile was beautiful, radiant and contagious.
“I know this because just thinking of or seeing Michelle always brought a smile to my face, even on a rainy day.”
In Bali, the tourists on the whitewater rafting excursion all wore life vests and helmets and had been briefed by guides before starting the 7.4-mile rafting trip, which was to last about 2 1/2 hours with a break midway down the river, Yudistira said.