Body of missing scuba diver found off Bali

Kyodo

A body of a female scuba diver found Tuesday near the Indonesian resort island of Bali has been identified as Ritsuko Miyata, one of the two remaining Japanese women who disappeared while scuba diving in the area last week, according to medical officials.

Forensic doctors identified the body as that of 59-year-old Miyata. In addition, she was recognized by her husband and son from a wedding ring on her left hand.

“The victim may have died about three days ago,” Felix Sangkalia, chief of the Disaster Victim Investigation of the Bali Police Headquarters, told reporters.

The body was found a day after the Bali rescue agency rescued five of the seven Japanese scuba divers, who went missing on Friday. The search continues for Shoko Takahashi, a 35-year-old local diving instructor who is the only member of the diving party who remains unaccounted for.

The body, wearing a wet suit, swimming fins and buoyancy control device, was found at 6:10 p.m. in Serangan about 20 km away from where the group went missing, Didi Hamzar, chief of the Bali Search and Rescue Agency, told a press conference.

Hamzar told a news conference earlier in the day that rescuers had received information from local people that the body, wearing a wet suit, was found floating in Serangan waters, south of Bali.

Rescuers are still searching for 35-year-old Shoko Takahashi, a local diving instructor.

On Monday afternoon, rescuers found Atsumi Yoshidome, 29, Aya Morizono, 27, Emi Yamamoto, 33, Nahomi Kawasaki, 28, and Saori Furukawa, 37, in two separate rocky coastal areas of Nusa Penida, a small island southeast of Bali. The island is some 30 km from where they began their dive Friday afternoon off the tiny neighboring island of Nusa Lembongan.

Furukawa, one of the two locally based Japanese diving instructors who led the diving expedition, told Japanese consular officials that all seven of them drifted away together from the original dive site, and that they subsequently became separated.

Racing against time, rescuers are working on the assumption that the two missing divers drifted away in the same direction as the five who were rescued.

Furukawa, who was found by herself about 800 meters away from the four others, was evacuated by helicopter, while the others were later rescued by rubber dinghy.

Doctors said the five rescued women suffered minor abrasions, and to some extent sunburn, dehydration and hypothermia, but none is in serious condition.

Speaking briefly from her hospital bed, Furukawa said she felt hungry and had a headache.

“She was very tough,” said Capt. Dian Bashari, pilot of the helicopter that evacuated her. “She kept asking about the condition of her guests, trying to look out from the chopper’s window to see where they were.”

Furukawa told him she had almost managed to swim to Sanur beach on Bali, about an hour by boat from the location where the divers went missing, but the current swept her back to Nusa Penida.