Search and Rescue authorities in Bali have launched a mission to find a missing tourist from Malaysia. The tourist, known by their initials NJ, 24, was visiting Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida on Tuesday, 27th December.
According to authorities, NJ was last seen at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, 27th December. The Klungkung Police Public Relations Head, Iptu Agus Widiono, confirmed the details of the situation to reporters on Wednesday morning.
He said the local search and rescue team was deployed as soon as the incident was reported. A joint search of land and sea was conducted on Tuesday afternoon, but as the sunset, no sign of NJ had been found.
Widiono said, “However, considering the bad weather due to big waves and cloudy conditions, the search for victims was stopped at around 6 pm. The plan is to continue the search [on Wednesday]”. Widiono said that NJ was accompanied to the beach by a friend. At around 1:25 pm, NJ decided to go for a swim while their friend stayed on the beach to keep an eye on the bags.
Widiono recalled statement’s made by NJ’s friend who described how shortly after entering the water, they tried to assist two other tourists who were struggling in the water against the high waves and strong currents. While the two tourists were able to make it back to shore, NJ was swept away by the high waves.
Although the group tried to re-enter the water to save NJ, they were unable to battle the current.
The search continued into Wednesday, though with every passing minute and the persistent rough conditions at sea, the likelihood that NJ would be found alive diminished further.
On Boxing Day, an American tourist, MJ, was injured while swimming in the rough waves at Nusa Penida’s Kelingking Beach. The traveler severely injured his left shoulder and was taken to the Nusa Medical Clinic.
Kelingking Beach can only be reached by scrambling down the steep and dangerous walkway. MJ was helped by his wife and their driver to navigate his way back up the precarious trail since the waves were so high that a medical evacuation boat could not have assisted them by meeting them down on the beach.
On 14th December, a tourist from China sprained her ankle while climbing down to Diamond Beach. Due to the severity of the sprain, the tourist had to be evacuated from the trial via a stretcher. The Nusa Penida Search and Rescue team was supported by local police and even army officers to safely take the tourist to the hospital.
Travelers across Bali have been warned by authorities to be extra cautious about entering the water over the next few days. Weather warnings are in place across Bali Province, and the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) has advised travelers to prioritize safety, especially at sea. In Kuta, following three days of heavy rain and storms, the local lifeguards have put red flags in place to show that it is not safe to swim.
The Chairperson of the Kuta Traditional Village Beach Task Force, Wayan Sirna, has advised travelers enjoying Kuta Beach to avoid swimming until the waves have calmed down. He said, “The wind has started to get a bit harsh, and the waves are also not very friendly, even for tourists who bathe. We urge [the public] not to carry out activities in the water, the traders too. This means that traders can also convey this to tourists, and we have informed them like that”
Although many of Bali’s beaches remain open to the public year-round, very few have lifeguards on duty, and therefore no flag system is in place to help tourists know whether it is safe to swim.
The BKMG Bali stated on 23rd December as an early weather warning for Bali Province with regard to swimming, surfing, and even traveling by sea; the authorities warned: “users and operators of sea transportation services, services, marine tourism, and the public who are active around coastal areas are advised to be aware of the potential increase in wind speed and sea waves with a height of up to 2.0 meters or more in the Bali Sea, Bali Strait, Badung Strait, Lombok Strait, and the Indian Ocean south of Bali.”
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