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Family Of Missing Man In Bali Launch Private Search And Rescue Effort

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The family of Graham Smith, who went missing while snorkeling in Blue Lagoon in Bali, have been told that the Indonesian government will stop their search and rescue operation after nine days of tireless searching according to protocol. 

Ariel View Of Padang Bai In Bali.jpg

Graham Smith was on holiday in Padang Bai on the 28th of September when, at around 5 pm, he is believed to have been swept out to sea. An urgent search and rescue effort was launched by teams in Bali who have continued the operation for the last seven days. The father of six and grandfather of eleven was on holiday in Bali with his wife. 

Graham Smith Missing Man In Bali.
Credit: Smith Family JustGiving Campaign

Described as ‘a selfless man with a heart of gold which puts humor and care at the forefront of every day’, Smith’s family is now raising funds to launch a private search and rescue operation when the government has to withdraw resources.

In the fundraising campaign, Smith’s son Adam writes, ‘Although the Balinese officials have tried their best to date, unfortunately, the team does not have access to a helicopter. This is something that would make such a difference to the search, and we hold high hopes to help us to locate Dad. Our target is two full days’.

bali beach

A helicopter and private search and rescue team will cost GBP 1600 (USD 1786 ) an hour. The family hopes to hire a helicopter for a full 6-hour search of the East Bali coastline, costing GBP 9600 (USD 10,716). At the time of writing, the JustGiving page had reached 97% of the £19,300 target. The family has spoken with reporters from major UK newspapers to get the story of their missing father in front of as many eyes as possible.

bali beach and water

His family remains hopeful that Smith will be found alive. In the fundraising campaign, they describe him as a ‘resourceful man who has been an electrical engineer, a lumberjack and handyman who devotes his life to helping his family’. His son told reporters that he hopes his father’s love of TV programs from explorers and survival specialists like Bear Grylls will help him in his time of need.

Aerial drone panorama taken by drone of the peaceful village of Padangbai located on the Eastern shore of Bali with the harbour being the main departure access to Lombok in Indonesia

Adam Smith told The Sun that ‘He’s a very adventurous man. He’s quite stubborn as well. So he would know he could do this…He’s always watching stuff like Naked and Afraid and Bear Grylls type stuff. Completely involved in them’. 

He continued to explain, ‘There’s a hell of a lot of land here, some really populated and very touristy and then there’s a lot of jungle and coast. So if he got swept out for a few hours I’m sure he could have gone very far. So that’s obviously that’s our hope. That’s a potential situation’. 


‘But if he is somewhere, there are prickly pears everywhere, it rains every day for about an hour without fail, the waters are really warm, and the temperatures not burning hot at all…So if he’s just sat on a beach or rock somewhere, it’s definitely for him, or potentially he’s just stuck somewhere’.

Bali Search and Rescue teams have committed to extending the search for an additional three days after the seven-day protocol period. This has given the family an extra boost. The siblings have mapped out an area they will search with the private helicopter. The area spans from Blue Lagoon for two nautical miles, including the coastlines of Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and the tip of Nusa Penida. 


When asked if he still has hope for his father’s safe return Adam told reporters, ‘The official search, the government search, ends tomorrow [Friday 7th October] at 6 pm. They’ve been really open and supportive, and we’ve been able to use some of their systems…You have to look at the other side, and start looking at all the options in your mind. So you don’t just completely live in false hope…But looking at the environment, looking at the sort of continued support by the government and the possibilities that could happen. I do believe he still could be out there’.

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Wednesday 12th of October 2022

There are subsurface currents that run unseen at great speed with great force. An unsuspecting diver can be caught and dragged out to sea. As I diver I have encountered many such deadly streams.At times during reef dives I've gone out with hiking boots on and a spear to anchor myself against such currents. The ocean is not a playground for the untrained. Hope springs eternal but in fact the poor Chao could have been swept into deep water like a shotgun blast with no chance of recovery.