The body of a 33-year-old man from South Korea, has been recovered from the waters surrounding Nusa Penida after a lengthy search. The diver was visiting Bali with his partner 32, and the couple had booked a diving tour in Manta Bay in Nusa Penida on Tuesday 16th August.
The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon. The tour operator and boat captain I Gede Suyadnyana, 41, took the couple out for a diving trip on Tuesday afternoon, around 2.30 pm. According to Suyadnyana the couple jumped off the boat as a series of surging waves rapidly approached the boat. Suyadnyana described to local reporters how the couple were smashed by the waves and were dragged under the water.
Suyadnyana did his best to rescue them from the water and immediately radioed for additional support. Bali Search and Rescue teams were deployed as quickly as possible and the search for the couple began. At around 5.30 pm on Tuesday, the partner was found seeking refuge on the cliffs of Broken Beach. Search and Rescue teams were able to get to her but struggled against the high tide waves.
On Tuesday evening the Head of the Nusa Penida Police, Kompol I Gede Redastra, told local reporters that a Korean man remained a missing person and confirmed that his partner had been sent to Padang Bai. From Padang Bai, she was transferred to Sanglah Hospital for further assessment and treatment.
Search and Rescue teams continued efforts to try and save him. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, his body was found floating in the waters of Manta Bay. It is suspected that he drowned, although there will likely be a post-mortem carried out to assess whether he sustained any other injuries that may have led to his death.
Police have not suggested that any further action will be taken regarding the death and injuries sustained by his partner. The Embassy of the Republic of South Korea has not released any statements regarding the case.
The sad news comes as conservationists in Nusa Penida have updated tourist diving regulations ahead of the Mola-Mola season to help protect the manta rays in the area. The updated rules have been created by the community and diving tour operators and are a community-managed conservation initiative.
People travel from all over the world to dive with the Mola-Mola fish and manta rays in the waters off Nusa Penida. The Mola-Mola fish, also called Sunfish, migrate to the shallow and warm waters of Nusa Penida from July to September each year.
The new regulations state that divers and snorkelers must stay at least 5m away from the sunfish and manta rays. Sunfish can be seen in Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, Toya Pakeh, and Blue Corner, as well as Manta Bay. The Head of the Bali Water Conservation Area UPTD, Marine and Fisheries Service, Bali Province, Nengah Bagus Sugiarta, announced the updated regulations last week and hopes that the efforts will be adopted across the board.
The code of conduct not only benefits the rare marine life but also helps tourists get the most out of their diving experience. The rules also state that divers should never touch the sunfish or manta rays, and never hinder their swimming route. The rules include explaining that divers should swim slowly when approaching the fish, never to swim under them, and not interfere with the fish’s cleaning process.
It is believed that the couple’s tragedy was an accident and that tourists do not need to adjust their plans if they have diving or snorkeling experiences booked. Tourists are minded to follow the guidance of their tour operators and ensure they have the correct qualifications and training before going scuba diving.
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