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No trace of 7 Japanese divers missing off Bali

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Quite mysterious how all could disappear. Any divers have an opinion?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Terrible news. The weather and sea conditions can be rough in Bali this time of year, due to the seasonal monsoons.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All 7?! That seems very strange to me.

I've surfed a lot at Nusa Lombongan, which sit's in the Bali Lombok Strait, and the waters in the Strait are some of the strangest and most unpredictable I have seen (huge eddies and whirlpools). I've also snorkelled at Lembongan when the surf is flat, and I remember some pretty strong currents, but surely experienced dive teams don't disappear en-masse to these?

Very weird.

9 ( +9 / -1 )

Pirates waiting to call in for a ransom??

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Australia took them to Chritmas Island. Just kidding. I hope they are safe.

-10 ( +2 / -11 )

Sad to read. As a diver here in Okinawa, I see a lot of "trust me" divers being led into the water in sporty conditions they have no business being in by unscrupulous and poorly trained "instructors." With the weather conditions being described by the police chief in the story above, that certainly sounds possible in this case also. Sad...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The Chinese Navy has been around these parts too....

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

It is very strange that all seven are missing.

According to the Japanese news, all seven of them including instructors had a lot experience in diving. So I am really curious about what happened.

According to a local Japanese diving shop owner interviewed by the Japanese press, that location is famous for drift diving, and he points out that it is possible that there may have been a miscommunication between the divers and the boat captain for the dive. But still all seven of them?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm no diver, but it's odd that all seven would fail to surface and no bodies found. My initial thought was that they maybe found some sort of wreck on the ocean bed that they went in to explore and got trapped, or maybe sucked into a crevice, but you'd think that if they were seriously coming the area they'd also find the wreck when searching. So I doubt that. So, I'm thinking a sudden strong current or whirlpool or something sucked or flung them far away from the dive sight.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Possibly one got into trouble and they all tried to help, or they could have been kidnapped. I would look deeper into the skippers's background.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Very sad.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Drift diving in a mangrove in poor weather? That's just a very silly idea. Poor viz, strong currents... More so on a drift dive. Poor on the dive leader and unfortunetly, it seems that these divers are paying for that.

Perhaps communication issues with the boat driver - drift diving is hard in terms of pinpointing a, exact pick up place, more so if currents and weather are strong/bad. Which is why the dive should not have been done in the first place.

50 dives each isn't all that many in terms of the diving community, more so in the conditions described. I do wonder how expereinced these divers really are/were. The dive guide should've known better. I hope they are found but things are not looking good for them. Wasn't a body already found? Plus, six women, one man, no?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“The weather was extreme at the time. The wind was strong with heavy rain,”

Probably diving in these conditions was not a well thought out plan. But operators in SE Asia take risks when it comes to the Tourist Dollar.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Simon, the guides were Japanese. My understand is that the company is Japanese. So they SE Asia comment is rather unfair. This crap happens in Japan as well - happens everywhere when it comes to diving as people want to dive and take silly risks to be able to go.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Well, either they did the right thing STAYING TOGETHER and will be found safe. Or, perhaps foully was involved. Lets hope not!

Maybe on a nearby island cooking up a few lobster on an open fire, shaded by a palm, with fresh water and coconuts for lunch!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ tmarie

I checked the diving company's website and I also think one of the instructors was a man (picture is on the website) but the news keep on saying all of them are women.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Simon, the guides were Japanese. My understand is that the company is Japanese.

@Tmarie The article says the skipper and boat were Indonesian. It also says the "instructors" were Indonesian. What guides?

My first thought was foul play, but the comments about drift diving sound more likely.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tamarama scribed thusly:

The Chinese Navy has been around these parts too....

Of course. The seven missing Japanese scuba divers are in the Chinese submarine with former Australian PM Harold Holt.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The news on TV said six women, one man. i'm not sure either and it seems the news isn't as well. Either way, seven families are in a lot of pain right now - which I believe could've been avoided. Sad all around.

Mark, they could've tried to stay together but drift diving can be tricky, more so in crap weather. I just can't get over a guide thinking a drift dive in such conditions was okay.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Eerily mysterious, almost supernatural. All 7 members of the diving expedition vanished without a trace. Shades of the Bermuda Triangle.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I too have snorkelled there , several years ago , the currents are swift , the under drag is dangereous , we went along a gap between Nysa lembongan and Nysa penida , I'm not sure what it's called , but it was scary we hugged the rocky edge and could see dark shadows below us.. The warm water of the north meets cold upwelling s , they say the tiger sharks sit there and feed on things washing thru ...I was told later that many divers get into trouble there. As they cruise along and then get sucked down into the abys of the deep ...it's perilous. I sure hope this channel didn't take this group.. I just left bali and yes the rain was biblical at times .

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I've been surfing there (shipwrecks) and snorkeling multiple times over the past decade and the currents can indeed get fast. Not fair to speculate, but it is easy to drift surprisingly far in a short amount of time.

And yes, the guides were Japanese according to reports so it's not fair to blame "southeast asian" guides.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This forum needs a generous dose of Occam's razor.

As "mysterious" as this may seem to some here, tragedies can and do happen. This was a terrible tragedy, almost certainly nothing more sinister than that. The awesome power of the ocean can be unforgiving, even for the highly experienced.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

it was scary we hugged the rocky edge and could see dark shadows below us.

God that sounds terrible. Are you ever going to do that again?

Hope they find these ladies somehow.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe they got trapped in some underwater cave. Scuba diving is very nice but also very risky hobby.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

First of all the weather: why do it on such a bad day? Tourists in a rush and instructors dont want to lose money? re “The weather was extreme at the time. The wind was strong with heavy rain,” Suarsika told Kyodo.

And now these young girls are dead: no time to marry or have kids find love or romance, all bceause of greedy tour operators and the press of TIME? WTF: RIP Emi Yamamoto, 33, Nahomi Tomita, 28, Aya Morizono, 27, Atsumi Yoshinobe, 29, Shoko Takahashi, 29, and Saori Furukawa, 27. Gone with the wind now. All for money and time rush?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

....all things fun are risky.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are seriously strong currents through the Bali strait, As fast as 12 knots.. A fast boat can have a lot of difficulties but swimmers would helpless if caught. It looks possible like the went at a change of tide. But the local guides - instructors generally know where and when to go but things change very fast there from my sailing experience and what the locals tell is that nothing is the same any more.

http://www.tides4fishing.com/as/west-indonesia/banjuwangi-bali-str

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Here's hoping by some miracle these ladies are found on part of the island. Sadly, Indonesia is not the country to go to if you need to be rescued in an emergency - they have neither know-how or adequate rescue vessels.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It also says the "instructors" were Indonesian. What guides?

From the article above. **The seven—five tourists and two instructors—left Bali on Friday morning after renting a boat from the beach town of Sanur, Kyodo news agency reported.

Japanese government officials said all members of the party were experienced, having each completed at least 50 dive trips previously, while the instructors were based locally so knew the area, Kyodo said. **

Five divers, two instructors equals seven Japanese divers. Many Japanese instructors based in Bali. Based locally doesn't mean they were Indonesian. Anyone who dives knows that instructors and guides are from all over and follow the diving seasons from place to place.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I hope everyone turns up safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good luck, I hope they get found!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm an Instructor doing this for a living and I see many people where you wonder if they should or should not...

50 dives is considered a lot if you know that you can have an instructor license with as little as 100 dives.

Also rain should be no problem for diving, it could have started while they where underwater.

Okinawa is also not exactly the place you want to be rescued at - speaking from experience. Cost Guard people don't know anything about diving at all.

Also I think the current maybe went in the wrong direction and the boat wanted to pick up somewhere totally else - happened to me once, also been floating for a 90min on the surface, even I had proper signaling gear, boat could not find me.

Hope they be found safely soon.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

We are all speculating, but based on the information given, I suggest that the location where they surfaced was different from where the skipper was.... ergo, lost in the ocecan. Pretty horrible turn of events, but we all know that scuba diving is not the safest of activities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few highly experienced divers I've dived with in SE Asia often warn of problems-waiting-to-happen with the Japanese tour groups. The instructors tend to do the "Zero to Hero" program, where they go from novice to instructor in one contiguous block of time, with no diving work logged other than "instructor." In clear conditions, they're fine. If things go bad, they are less likely to react as professionally as an instructor who has been diving their whole life in a wide range of conditions.

I hope they have just gotten carried away with the current and are stuck on some remote beach, but otherwise OK.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I suggest that the location where they surfaced was different from where the skipper was

Are you suggesting they may make another Open Water movie based on these ladies?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

50 dives does not equate to "very experienced."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sadly I don't think any amount of experience can help you with the currents between Nusa Ceningans and Nusa Penida on days when there's bad weather. They can change very quickly and are extremely strong, even when it may look ok. The currents can also go in different directions within a 20 metre space. 10 years of going there and personal experience of being swept away in those currents, I can tell you it is possible for all 7 divers to go missing and trying to determine which way they may have drifted is difficult also. My thoughts are with their family and friends!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Might have been they got caught in a downwellings. They've been known to cause divers to rapidly descend into the abyss and they happen very frequently in Indonesia due to the shape of the seabed and the way current interact with it. Add to that the mixing of different types of waters (cold/hot, salt/non salt) due to the rain and you got some pretty messed up conditions to work through.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They were living their dream; and then divine mother aka nature changed things in a way that is hurting many right now. I'm sorry for their plight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hamzar, however, said his agency had received information that the skipper said he had run out of fuel at one point and had to refuel before arriving at the agreed spot.

Important detail here. maybe they surfaced a little early and the boat wasn't there so away they drifted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is very odd, no trace. A flipper, a snorkel...nothing. over 2 days and no fresh water in itself can be fatal.

Without a trace may suggest together and on an island. Maintain hope!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like someone got into trouble, another came to help and eventually all got into trouble. It might have been a chaos of all of them trying to help each other and just ending up drowning each other. A horror to imagine.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The skipper of the boat regardless of the conditions he was experiencng while these divers were under water he should have not moved his boat. By doing so I would presume the divers did come up and not see the boat where it was suppose to be probably got disorientated and freaked out fearing abandonment and went searching for the shore, if this is not the case being that all are missing they experience some sever under current and got sucked into the abeis of the unknown.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kaimycahl in the Indonesian news said they have dive 3 places. For the first two places were fine and the third place at bluepoint, they started to go missing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So far it looks like the skipper left the scene and didn't get back to the same spot in time. Running out of gas is much worse than bad planning -- it's unforgivable. None of the divers who were underwater during the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami died. I've had a few scares being too far from the boat when resurfacing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's unforgivable. I agree with you Solohoh. The divers trusted him!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@peacezzzzz

Whats your point

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it is true that the skipper sailed away and did not appear at the agreed point in time, he should be in the slammer on multiple murder charges. Unforgivable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like the dive business chose money ocer safety, just like a terrifying dive experience I had in Bali many years ago on a moonless night before a storm with strong currents. I too probably had logged nearly 70 dives by then but that is nothing in terms of real dive experience and awareness. That dive operation was so shoddy and careless but we only realized that for sure when the guide let us all wander around and go our separate ways, and when the skipper of the boat headed too far down current to pick us up. It still makes my heart race to think of what could have happened had anything gone even slightly wrong with all of us novice divers, the cavalier instructor, and the dangerous conditions. It's fairly odd thst this dive shop is impossible to reach, too... I pray these divers are ok.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is very sad indeed. And hard to comprehend. Apparently, as the Japanese TV reports it, the boat left them in the sea after losing sight.

I did diving in the same area on a X-mas day 6 years ago, and had a terrible experience with the weather, rain, fog, because of insufficiently equipped boat (no GPS, no compass, no communications). We survived. But waters can be very rough. I think local dive centres are not professional enough to handle such problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope they're found sound and safe, asap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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