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5 of 7 Japanese divers missing in Bali rescued; 1 found dead

Publication Date : 20-02-2014


Five of seven Japanese women who went missing while scuba diving off Bali island, Indonesia, were rescued Monday afternoon. A body in a wet suit was found Tuesday night and local police later determined it was that of Ritsuko Miyata, 59, one of the remaining two.

The five are Saori Furukawa, a 37-year-old diving instructor living in Bali; and four participants in the diving tour—Emi Yamamoto, 33, Aya Morizono, 27, Atsumi Yoshidome, 29, and Nahomi Tomita, 28.

Local authorities said none of the five seemed to have health problems. They were rescued three days after they went missing.

Indonesian rescuers had resumed searching for the remaining two—Shoko Takahashi, 35, the other instructor of the diving tour, and the other tour participant, Miyata.

The body of Miyata was found off Bali on Tuesday evening in a wet suit similar to those worn by the five women rescued earlier, and local police determined it was Miyata after her family members confirmed.

The five were found on rocks south of Nusa Penida island. A light was reportedly seen blinking there, and rescuers have been conducting an intensive search in the area.

The site is about 30 kilometres southeast of the place where the seven went missing Friday.

“There are two or more currents in the sea area near the accident site,” said a 41-year-old man who runs a diving shop in Bali said. “I assume they might have been carried away by one of the currents for a long distance.”

An official of a hospital the rescued four tour participants were taken to told reporters Tuesday morning: “Their conditions are stable, and they can walk and talk on their own. They will be able to leave the hospital on Wednesday, at the earliest.”

The official said four suffered inflammation due to sunburns, but the symptoms were not serious, and that they ate rice porridge for breakfast.

Waiting to be rescued

A 41-year-old Japanese man living in Bali who found Saori Furukawa on Monday said she was sitting on a rock and gestured for help when he found her.

The man, who runs a local diving gear shop, participated as a volunteer in the search and rescue activities.

Shortly after 4pm Monday, he found Furukawa sitting on a rock off Nusa Penida island. When he and his companions found her, she was waving a float normally used to signal diving has finished.

An Indonesian man from among the volunteers dove into the sea, swam to Furukawa and helped her.

The Japanese man said at the time, Furukawa was so weakened that she could not stand up on her own.

According to a woman who met Furukawa in the hospital she was taken to, Furukawa told her she drank rainwater while waiting to be rescued.

Hiromi Matsui, 46, who led the volunteer group, said late Monday about the five rescued women, “Some of them complained about pains from sunburns, but they are all right.”

According to Matsui, the five drifted in the sea after going missing Friday and climbed up on the rocks on Saturday afternoon.


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