MIA Confirms Death of Family in Dusheti

Rescue personnel will continue their search for the body of a four-year-old boy in the Dusheti municipality tomorrow morning, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has announced.

"On July 6, 112 received a call out on the loss of two adults with dual citizenship of the US and Georgia and their 4-year-old son. It was said the missing persons were in Khada Gorge in Dusheti region and had fallen out of contact," - the MIA statement reads. "Upon receipt of the notice, the employees of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and 15 emergency crews departed for the mentioned village. Policemen and rescuers immediately started searching and checked the places mentioned in the call. Law enforcers found a car and personal belongings of missing tourists in Tsikere village. The rescuers of the Emergency Situations Service then found the body of one of the missing tourists about 3 km into the ravine, in the waterfall. The search and rescue operations for the remaining two tourists were suspended due to poor visibility and darkness.

"The search and rescue mission was resumed this morning. Another tourist, a man (yet to be officially identified), was found dead near the waterfall in Khevi," - the MIA said.

25 people participated in the search-rescue operation.

An investigation into the incident has been launched under Article 116 (2) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which implies Negligence of Life and up to 5 years imprisonment.

"Forensic expertise has been called in," the MIA reported. "Initial examination of the deceased reveals no signs of violence. The United States citizens have the status of dual citizens and have been living in Georgia for several years. Investigation works will be resumed tomorrow morning," the MIA stated.

Vazha Ghudushauri, Gudauri City Hall Representative (Administrative Section), earlier confirmed in a phone conversation with GEORGIA TODAY that a family was caught in a sudden landslide in Khada, near the Gudauri resort. The bodies of a man and woman have been recovered but the search is ongoing for their child.

It is believed that the victims are the Smith family. Ryan Smith, Founder and Director of ReWoven, his wife Lora and 4-year-old son Caleb were on a family camping trip. 

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