Eight foreign tourists missing at sea after a diving excursion were saved by a local fisherman late on Thursday evening, July 7, 2012.
The State News Agency Antara quotes the local chief of the National Search and Rescue Squad, Ketut Gede Ardana, saying, “The were rescued by the Ship ‘Sumer Laut 01’ on Thursday at 10:40 pm. local time.”
At the time of their rescue the 7 missing French nationals and 1 German were afloat some 11 miles south of Nusa Lembongan island, meaning swift currents had managed to carry the group that distance from the island in the approximately 6 hours since their disappearance.
The exhausted divers were carried by the fishing boat to the harbor of Benoa in Bali where they were safely disembarked at 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning.
The Captain of the Indonesian fishing vessel, Sismono (50), told Bali Post that his ship was returning to Bali after an extended fishing trip to Flores when he saw a light in the high seas shone by one of the group of eight divers. The captain found the group of divers in seas, estimated at 3 meters in height, still wearing their diving equipment and holding hands in a circle as they floated further into open seas carried by strong currents.
Captain Sismono together with his crew of 12 men hauled the divers aboard his ship. Due to language limitation, the divers suffering from shock after 6 hours afloat could not communicate with the crew who gave them water and instant noodles.
The divers spent 6 hours after their rescue aboard the ship while it made its way to the Bal port.
The group was reportedly well enough to directly return to their accommodation on Tulamben beach, North Bali.
Members of the Search and Rescue Squad will meet with the divers today to collect more details surrounding their disappearance.
The 8 divers were part of a larger group of 12 divers reportedly handled by Bali-based marine operator Dive Concepts who commenced a dive at 3:45 pm on Thursday afternoon near the mangrove area of Nusa Lembogan. When the group resurfaced at 4:30 pm, only 4 of the original 12 divers returned.
The National Search and Rescue Squad (BASNARNAS) was informed of the missing divers at 7:20 pm and were preparing to launch a massive sea search with the first light of day on Friday morning.
The weather conditions at the scene of the dive at the time of the disappearance included strong winds and high waves.
The names of the divers rescued by the local fishing vessel are:
Maureen Craik (French)
Kelly Fernandez (French)
Kate Dillon (French)
Sara Harrop (French)
Andrea Murachelli (French)
Francois Haberkorn (French)
Thibeault Legrand (French)
Alina Herman (German)
Meanwhile the four drivers who returned safely on Thursday afternoon are:
Raphael Crauth (German)
Robert Lucas (French)
Caroline Telfer (French)
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