Arman Arifin, 34, from Surabaya, has been reported missing in Canggu after visiting the beach on Sunday 8th May. As the week progresses, the community and search and rescue teams are fearful that he was dragged away by the tide.
Arifin, his partner, and friends were visiting the world-famous Batu Bolong Beach in Canggu on Sunday afternoon. According to eyewitness reports at 5 pm, Arifin decided to take a swim in the shallows fully clothed. When he did not return to the group at the agreed departure time concerns for his safety began to grow.
The Search and Rescue teams have shared that Arifin’s friends first thought that he may have returned to the accommodation although no one from the group saw him leave the water, nor did they see him in distress.
He went swimming alone and it seems that no one from the group was keeping an eye on him from the shore. The alarm was sounded when he was not found to have returned to his accommodation and his sandals were located on the shoreline. It was only then that the group started to consider that he may have been swept out to see.
The Search and Rescue Team, known as Basarnas, was called and a search of the area was ordered. The search operation was carried out from Monday afternoon until Monday evening. The Search and Rescue team launched a lifeboat and patrolled a 2.5km stretch of the ocean along Batu Bolong Beach. A thorough search of the beach was also undertaken. The search team kept two personnel on the beach until midnight on Monday night in case any sign of Arman Arifin was reported.
Though hope has not been lost, the Search and Rescue team is beginning to reconcile the chance that he was swept out to sea and drowned.
Batu Bolong Beach is a famous surf spot, boasting barreling waves and challenging surf. The current is known to be strong and there are sections of the beach where it is not recommended that people go swimming. Although the beach is getting increasingly busy there are no lifeguards stationed at Batu Bolong Beach at this time.
The Bali Search and Rescue team has been in high demand in recent weeks. On Saturday 7th May the team was called to rescue a Canadian traveler who had fallen from Uluwatu Bridge. A team of seven highly trained first responders launched a mission to rescue 34-year-old Sadri Haidar. Following a two-hour operation, he was successfully lifted from the ravine and taken to Bali Jimbaran Hospital. He received treatment for a broken arm and suspected broken ribs.
As Bali’s world-famous beaches begin to open up to domestic and international travelers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, travelers are reminded to prioritize beach safety. Always read and adhere to safety signage and flags along the beach.
Not all beaches in Bali have safe-to-swim flags. If they do, red always means that it is not safe to swim, and yellow flags mean that conditions are rough but safe for strong swimmers. Green flags mean the water is calm, though the ocean can change in a heartbeat.
The guidance states that travelers should never enter the ocean without telling someone first. If traveling alone, inform someone who is on the beach, or one of the local beach bar waiting staff who can sound the alarm should the worst happen.
Hope remains for Arman Arifin’s safe return and the search and rescue case remains open. The main emergency phone number for medical emergencies, crimes, or missing persons is 112. For a direct connection to Bali’s search and rescue call 111, 115, or 151.
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