7 divers missing off Indonesian island

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Arizona

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7 divers in which two were instructors familiar with the area? The following from the BBC article referenced by MasterChief D seems to indicate this:
"The search for the group, which includes two instructors, was halted on Saturday evening and will resume on Sunday morning.
The seven, all experienced divers, disappeared in bad weather while exploring an area of mangroves.
Conditions were reported to be bad at the time the group disappeared, with heavy winds and strong rains."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-26205521

Let's hope the search is successful
 

peterbkk

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The other thing that does not make sense in these news stories is "while exploring an area of mangroves". I have dived Crystal Bay several times and don't remember any mangroves. In fact, the area, with it's rocky coastline is most unfavourable to the growth of mangroves. And, even if someone was exploring mangroves, they'd be in very shallow water, out of all currents and protected from most weather conditions. Surely, the "mangrove" comment must be misreporting.

Yes, the currents can be very strong in that channel outside Crystal Bay. It has been closed to divers before due to missing diver incidents. There have been several cases of divers getting caught in the current and surfacing out in open ocean. It's a dive that should be reserved only for very experienced divers.

Early afternoon on Friday, currents would have been running out hard in the middle of a falling tide. In Friday's rain and wind, if they did surface out in the channel, seeing them on the surface would be difficult.

We can only hope that they found some way to get ashore in some remote place --- but that's a very small probability, I'm afraid.

Regards
Peter
 

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Arizona

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From a Japanese news source in English:

Search resumes for 7 Japanese divers missing off BaliFeb. 16, 2014 - 03:15PM JST


BALI —
Indonesian rescuers on Sunday resumed their search for seven Japanese scuba divers who vanished during a dive near Bali two days ago, a consular official said.
A search party was combing the seas for the five tourists and two instructors—all women—who went missing during their third dive near the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida southeast of Bali on Friday afternoon, deputy consul general of Japan in Bali Yasue Katsunobu said.

Their boat’s skipper called the police after the women did not resurface, Katsunobu said, adding the boat was hired from Yellow Scuba on the beachside strip of Sanur.
“We are still searching for the seven missing divers. So far there’s no indication of where they are,” Katsunobu told AFP on Sunday.
A staff member for Bali’s search and rescue agency said a around 100 people had joined the operation from his agency, the maritime police, the navy, as well as fishermen, and Japanese and Indonesian diving instructors.

“After having no luck on Saturday, we have expanded the search area,” Amtarama, a Bali search and rescue official who goes by one name, told AFP.
“We have seven official boats, not including the fishermen’s, and a helicopter has been scanning the waters since the early morning,” he said.
The team will continue until dark, he said, adding that weather conditions had so far been fine.
Rescuers searched until 3pm on Saturday when bad weather, including heavy rain, forced them to halt the mission, officials said.
Police said earlier that the women had left from Crystal Bay on the larger island Nusa Penida when they went missing.

Crystal Bay is a popular site for seeing Nusa Penida’s famous mola-mola, or ocean sunfish, and is recommended for experienced divers because of its strong downward current.
The bay was closed temporarily in August 2012 after a Danish man and Japanese woman died diving in the same week, according to reports.
The skipper said that he was following the divers for some 20 minutes before a sudden downpour of rain made the water cloudy, according to a report in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

He moved his 10-meter-long boat to a point some hundreds of meters away where the divers were expected to resurface at an agreed time, the report said.
The skipper said he searched for them for an hour before reporting the incident.
“I’ve been guiding since 2009, and I’ve been to the area (of the accident) many times. Why did this happen?” he said in the report.
Katsunobu said that the seven women were very experienced scuba divers with at least 50 dives each under their belts.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency said the missing women were named by police and rescue authorities as: ......

Bali is often pounded by heavy afternoon rain during the wet season, which lasts around six months of the year.
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are popular scuba diving spots and are part of the Coral Triangle, widely considered the world’s richest underwater wilderness.
The Coral Triangle includes the waters of six nations in the Indian and Pacific oceans—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Japan Today
 

Wingy

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I dont recall ever seeing any mangroves there either. Very sad to lose so many divers at once. Ive dived CB a few times and never encountered a down current but have noticed significant surge around the plate coral in the middle of the bay on many occasions. There has been drownings there with people hitting their heads in the surge, wondering if something may have happened to one diver causing panic amongst the others ??? I guess unless they are found we will never know what happened. I think dive shops limiting divers by numbers and experience in CB would be a great incentive.
 

buddhasummer

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On the news over here they are talking about a down current. Have no idea how accurate it is though.

---------- Post added February 16th, 2014 at 02:55 AM ----------

I wouldn't call 50 dives "very experienced". Guess it depends under what conditions those 50 dives were conducted. I hope they find them soon. It's not looking good though.
 

WetPup

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I dont recall ever seeing any mangroves there either. Very sad to lose so many divers at once. Ive dived CB a few times and never encountered a down current but have noticed significant surge around the plate coral in the middle of the bay on many occasions. There has been drownings there with people hitting their heads in the surge, wondering if something may have happened to one diver causing panic amongst the others ??? I guess unless they are found we will never know what happened. I think dive shops limiting divers by numbers and experience in CB would be a great incentive.

I've dived CB maybe half a dozen times at different times of the year, and every single time I've felt the down current when I got any more than 3-5 meters off the reef. Varying degrees of current strength, but always felt it regardless. It's the only dive site I've actually had to exert so much effort on that I got out of the water puking my guts up.

No idea if the down current actually played a part in this incident, especially if they were experienced divers as is being reported, but it's still certainly something to be considered.
 

pilz

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I was told by some locals that they dived Sakenan as the third dive, not Crystal Bay. CB is often used interchangeably with Nusa Penida anyway. "Mangroves" is the site just before Sakenan. The current usually goes in the direction of Blue Corner, and then into the channel towards Serangan / Nusa Dua.
 

gekodivebali

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Heard Mangrove as well... No info as of yet, which is very saddening!
Little hope after 56 hours. Dive centres sent boats out today in another effort, with no success.
What I can say beyond speculation is that there was an outstanding weather event on land in Padang Bai at about the time the divers would have disappeared. We had a sudden storm while eating at the shop after our 2 dives at Tepekong/Mimpang. Absolutely crazy rains and wind that took some of the roof tiles off the hotel next door. Felt like a mini-tornado. If they surfaced in the midst of that at Mangrove or close to Blue Corner, it would have been near impossible for the Captain to see them.
This area is also known for down currents and crazy whirlpools. Not a place we tend to dive lightly.
 

Peter69_56

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For what its worth, this is what was reported to me from a LDS owner I know well.

"Yes we heard the news today, apparently a shop from ...................................................They did three dives that day, last dive on Jack Point, jumped in at 14:00.
According to one of the captains of another boat, the boat of the missing divers was still moored at 14:45, which is stupid on a place like that you are supposed to follow the divers.....

What we heard is that the boat started searching did not had enough gasoline, went to Nusa Penida, and told that they were missing diver. At that time it was already 17:00 to late to search not enough sunlight left. This morning about 10 boats started searching a few helicopters a planes, they are in the water for 24 hours now, I can only hope they find them soon"


---------- Post added February 17th, 2014 at 01:30 AM ----------

I have dived this area a number of times and it can run very hard there, if you don't go to shallow ground at Blue Corner, Australia might be the next stop if you cant hook the beach at Sanur. There are a lot of down currents as well running off the shallows into very deep water. Experienced this a number of times and if you are not switched on it will take you. Once it ran that hard we had to get out of it by hand over hand on the coral.

I also agree with the comment, you have to drift with the divers as it runs hard. I would think that if the boat did anchor up, they would not have had a chance to see them if the current run hard and they were looking in the wrong direction along with storm effects.

---------- Post added February 17th, 2014 at 01:47 AM ----------

But then won't we have to trust that the local authorities have the means and the will to go and check out the signal?

Yes you are right, however I look at it this way;

Option 1, save $1000, go diving and get lost, know one knows where I am and I am a fly spot in the ocean, survival chance 10%

Option 2, spend $1000, Australian Rescue know I am lost, contact 3rd world country, they decide they will search on Monday (I am lost on Sunday), someone still knows where I am and still knows I am lost. I may have a 50-50 chance. That sounds better than 10% and I am willing to bet $1000 on it as my life is worth far more than that to me.

As an example; we dived off Puri Bagus Candidasa near one of the islands one time. We got caught in a strong current and ended up on the other side of the island and about 700m from the island. Our boat was on the other side of the island waiting for us. Luckily I had a diver alert signal device, on setting its ear piercing signal off, a boat on our side of the island heard it and contacted our boat and he came for us. Had we not had this device, "There but for the Grace of God........it could have been us"

SO having been exposed to this twice now (previous time got left behind for a long period), I take a Life line radio, PLB, rescue mirror, diver alert, safety dye, DSMB. Is it a bit overboard (sorry for the pun), maybe but I want to give myself a fighting chance that I am NOT a statistic.
 

Belmont

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In cave diving there are signs at the entrance that say about this:

"there is nothing in this cave worth risking your life for."

Reading the comments above I tend to think there are places in that region where this could apply.

Surely there are safer spots where you can see nice coral and fish life?

Every time I dive in the ocean I carry a 6 foot closed SMB, diving there I would also carry one of these:

LifeRaft.jpg
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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