Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Search called off for missing free diver Natalia Molchanova

Spain's rescue services have called off their underwater search for missing free-diving great Natalia Molchanova after spending more than two days looking for her off the Balearic Islands.

The county's maritime rescue service and the police specialist underwater team both said they were limiting their operations to monitoring the Mediterranean Sea surface for any trace of the 53-year-old Russian.

Aida, the international diving federation, said in a statement that Molchanova was diving on Sunday without fins at a depth of 30-40 metres (100-130ft) off the coast of Formentera when she failed to resurface.

The alert was raised after 5pm local time, and a specialist police underwater unit with five divers was deployed from the neighbouring island of Ibiza within minutes.

A helicopter and a maritime rescue vessel were scrambled, and all shipping in the area was alerted.

The search continued until dusk on Tuesday.

Maritime rescue co-ordinator Miguel Chicon said the operation was "very complicated" because Molchanova could have become trapped by weights she was wearing at the time of the dive.

A remote-controlled submersible robot hired by her family would continue an underwater search, police said.

Molchanova ranks among the greatest free divers, having set 41 world records, and earning 22 gold medals at world championships.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?


From Belfast Telegraph