Eight missing foreigners found

by Peni Widarti on 2012-07-07

Eight tourists from England and France, who were reported missing on Thursday while diving in the waters of Nusa Lembongan in Klungkung regency, have been found safe. They were rescued by a fishing boat on its way to Benoa harbor. The skipper usually took a different route, however, on that fateful night he somehow decided to take a new route that brought the ship to the location of the missing divers.

The fishing boat, KM Sumber Laut 01, is owned and operated by Benoa-based PT Intimas fishing company. The ship’s crew spotted the divers at 10:40 p.m., 11 miles to the south of where they had been diving.

“After being rescued, the divers were brought to Benoa harbor, arriving there at 4 a.m. on Friday. They were then returned to their place of accommodation at Puri Aries in Tulamben, Karangasem,” said Ketut Gede Ardana, head of the operational division of Denpasar’s Search and Rescue.

On Thursday morning, the divers had left Sanur beach in a group of 12 people, heading to Nusa Lembongan to go diving. The boat they were using was provided by the diving operator Dive Concepts.

At around 4:30 p.m. the group started diving, but then four of them decided to go back to the boat because of the high waves.

“The other eight people didn’t come up,” Ardana said.

At around 7 p.m. the dive operator reported that its customers were missing. They were Aina Herman, Maureen Craik, Kelly Fernandes, Kate Dillon, Sara Harrop, Andrea Murachell, Francoise Haberkorn and Thibeault Legrand.

“After we received the report, we searched Padang Bai waters, but didn’t find them, so we decided to continue searching the next day, but then we received another report saying they had been rescued by a fishing boat,” said Sr. Comr. Tubuh Musyareh, Bali Water Police director.

Hendro, one of the managers of Dive Concepts, confirmed that his guests had been missing, but refused to give any elaboration, claiming that he was very busy.

When the dive operator was contacted again by phone, a foreign man answered the call but only said, “Sorry, no comment,” before ending the call.

Sismono, captain of the boat that rescued the victims, said that the boat found the divers coincidently.

“I was about to go back to Benoa harbor from Flores, usually I don’t take that route.”

He said he and the boat’s crew had seen a light in the middle of the sea. As they approached the light, they noticed some people in diving suits waving their hands.

“We grabbed our life jackets and pulled them into the boat,” he said, adding that the waves were high that night, reaching up to 3 meters.

According to the Denpasar Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the high current along the bottom of the sea was due to several factors, including high winds that reached between 10 to 40 kilometers per hour.

“They were above the normal [safe] level of 20 kilometers per hour,” said Made Sudarma from the BMKG.

Since Thursday, waves have reached between 0.75 meters and 2.5 meters in the waters of North Bali, and from one to four meters in the waters of South Bali.

“I was about to go back to Benoa harbor from Flores, usually I don’t take that route.”

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