Search and Rescue teams in Bali have confirmed the death of a missing tourist from Malaysia. The tourist, known by his initials NJ, went missing from Diamond Beach in Nusa Penida on Tuesday, 27th December.
Eyewitnesses immediately reported the incident to the authorities, who conducted a comprehensive search and rescue mission. NJ was swept out to sea while trying to help two other tourists who were seen struggling against the dangerously high waves and undercurrent.
Bali’s Search and Rescue teams conducted a rescue operation on Tuesday afternoon but had to stop as waves became too dangerous to navigate in the fading light and incoming storms. The operation restarted in the early hours of Wednesday, 28th December.
Officers conducted searches of the coastal waters off Diamond Beach and surrounding rocky outcrops, coves, and beaches. At 10.10 am on Wednesday, officers located NJ in the water, six nautical miles away from Diamond Beach. They recovered his body from the ocean and carried him back to land.
Bali Basarnas, Nusa Penida Police, Nusa Penida Military Command, Klungkung Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, Nusa Penida Air Police, the Gema Santi Hospital medical team, and the local community coordinated the joint mission. The Acting Head of Nusa Penida Police, AKP I Nyoman Suparwata, confirmed the details of the incident to the press shortly after NJ had been found.
AKP Suparwata told reporters, “The victim was evacuated and autopsied at the Gema Santi Hospital,” where the medical team confirmed the cause of death as drowning. The news of the tragedy is serving as a stark reminder to tourists and residents in Bali to heed the cautions issued by the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics for Bali (BMKG).
The BMKG Bali has issued weather warnings across Bali that include conditions at sea. The weather forecast shows heavy rains, storms, and strong winds will hit Bali over the next few days. I Gusti Ayu Putu Putri Astiduari, from the BMKG Bali, confirmed that storms will gather on the southern and northern coastlines of the island. Waves are expected to reach 3.5m in places, making it dangerous to enter the water.
In light of the most recent weather warnings, the Head of Data and Information at the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BBMKG) Region III Denpasar I Nyoman Gede Wirajaya, has told the public to stay home where possible.
In a statement issued on Thursday, 29th December, he said, “I beg the public to be careful when doing activities outside the home. If there is no urgent need, it’s best to stay at home waiting for the weather to return to normal…To the public, we urge not to panic but remain alert, and continue to monitor information on weather developments and extreme weather early warnings from BMKG.”
Fast boat services from Bali to the outlying islands of Nusa Penida and the Gili Islands have been running only intermittently over the Christmas holidays as conditions on the ocean continue to be dangerous. Officials have advised travelers to choose the ferry where possible and stopped fast boat services running for three days in the last week on safety grounds.
Even at Bali’s busiest and most popular tourist beaches, visitors are advised against swimming in the sea. Speaking on 27th December, the Chairperson of the Kuta Traditional Village Beach Task Force, Wayan Sirna, said that the beach management teams had placed flags to want beach-goers against entering the water. Not all public beaches in Bali operate a flag system.
Sirna told reporters, “The wind has started to get a bit harsh and the waves are also not very friendly, even for tourists who bathe. We urge not to carry out activities in the water, the traders too.”
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