Search & Rescue teams in Bali are working around the clock to search for a missing British tourist who disappeared on Wednesday afternoon. The man, known to the media as 68-year-old GS, is believed to have been on holiday in Bali with his wife, DM. The couple was snorkeling off Blue Lagoon Beach in Padang Bai.
It has been confirmed that GS went missing from Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai, not Blue Lagoon in Nusa Ceningan as had been initially reported by some media outlets. The couple had been staying at a hotel on Jalan Raya Manggis close to Blue Lagoon Beach in East Bali.
GS’s wife alerted the authorities to the situation around 5.30 pm on Wednesday afternoon, and a search effort was launched as soon as possible. Although no weather warnings were issued, conditions were rougher than usual. As reported locally, wind speeds in Blue Lagoon on Wednesday afternoon were 2-12 knots per hour, and the wave height was 1.5-2 meters.
The initial search effort was conducted by the Padang Bai Harbor Regional Police. Still, they quickly realized more support would be needed. Teams from six Search and Rescue Posts around Bali were called to help support the operation. Officers from the Airud Satpol Polres Karangasem, led by Head of AKP I Gusti Agung Bagus Suteja, were also drafted in, and Padangbai Port Area Police, led by Police Chief Kompol Made Suadnyana.
Speaking to local reporters, the priest from Pura Dang Kahyangan Temple, Jro Mangku Gede Antara, told reports that the waters around Blue Lagoon are sacred and are known to fool unsuspecting swimmers, snorkelers and fishermen. He explained that although the waters look calm at the surface, a strong and swirling undercurrent has caught people out in the past.
He said, ‘It’s a sacred area that is sacred in abstract terms, and very dangerous regularly because the seawater condition is difficult to predict. So if you travel in that area, don’t immediately throw yourself into the sea if you don’t understand the character of the water there’.
Antara explained that he was offering a ceremony for the safe return of GS to shore. He said, ‘My suggestion is that certain interested parties hold a matur piuning ceremony at Pura Dang Kahyangan Silayukti, hoping that British tourists can come to the surface’.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, by midday Friday 30th September, no sign of GS had yet been found. The Coordinator of the Karangasem Search and Rescue Post, I Gusti Ngurah Eka, told reports that a technical search is still ongoing. Moving forward, the operation will be coordinated by Bali Search and Rescue, supported by the regency search and rescue teams, Karangasem Police Polair, Bali Regional Police Polair, Padangbai Police, and the local tourism police, as well as GS’s family.
Sadly this is not the first reported incident of a tourist getting into difficulty while snorkeling off the coast of Bali. In late August this year, a French tourist was rescued from the waters off Nusa Penida after sustaining injuries while swimming off Klingking Beach. Tragically a diver from Korea died after being swept away by an unpredictable wave in Manta Bay on the 16th of August. His body was recovered from the water the following day.
All hopes remain for the safe return of GS, and search and rescue teams are reported to continue their operation. In May, a Turkish boat captain was found alive and well after going overboard during a storm. Erhan Seckal was rescued after three days in the open sea. He had eventually managed to cling to an aggregated fishing device off the coast of Buleleng, which was found by local fishermen and bought safely back to dry land.
Travelers are reminded to swim only in areas where they are confident it is safe to do so. Although warnings from local people about the dangers of sacred or ‘haunted’ waters may mean little to visitors, beneath the spiritual meaning, which is to be respected, there is also usually a tangible explanation why such areas aren’t recommended for swimming. Rapidly changing tides and undercurrents can be dangerous even for confident swimmers and divers.
Plan Your Next Bali Vacation:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community
SUBSCRIBE TO NEW POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.