A Failure to Surface

South Korean Man and Guide Die on Seawalker Excursion at Serangan Island, South Denpasar

Tragedy befell a South Korean couple and their tour guide when they encountered strong currents while participating in the SeaWalker attraction at Serangan Island in South Denpasar on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

The water sport activity, operated by Aqua Star, allows participants with little or no diving experience to wear air-filled helmets and walk on the bottom of the ocean.

NusaBali reports that at around 2:40 pm on the ill-fated Wednesday afternoon the South Korean man Song Jaeho (29) and the guide Didik Haryanto (43) originally from Banyuwangi, East Java, drowned while a South Korean woman, Kang Hqasun (30) escaped unscathed in the incident.

The South Korean couple, who were staying at the Hotel Alila in Uluwatu, traveled to Serangan Island to enjoy the experience of walk among underwater sea life. After receiving a safety and instructional lecture by guide Didik Haryanto, they were transported to an area specially prepared for the Seawalker experience.

Didik Haryanto descended first into the water, followed by Song Jaeho and Kang Hqasun. Seven minutes after commencing their underwater walk, the South Korean woman reportedly panicked and suddenly surfaced where she was assisted by Seawalker staff waiting on the pontoon. At the same time, Song Jaeho and Didik Haryanto stayed below the water’s surface and did not ascend.

Concerned employees of Aqua Star Seawalker become concerned and commenced a search for the missing men. Song Jaeho was found a short time later and hauled to shore, while the guide, Didik Haryanto still had not appeared.

Efforts to revive the South Korean with CPR were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on the scene by rescue officials called to the location. Meanwhile, Search and Rescue officials searched for the Indonesian underwater guide who was later found dead a few meters away from the pontoon.

Visibility was poor in the water at the Aqua Star Seawalker with police theorizing that a strong underwater current was encountered by the three once they submerged.

Police sent the bodies of the two men to Sanglah General Hospital for forensic examination. The South Korean Woman was reportedly uninjured.