News World 7 Japanese tourists missing in Indonesia

7 Japanese tourists missing in Indonesia

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Seven Japanese women are still missing despite a two-day search after disappearing on a scuba diving trip off Bali.

The group disappeared while diving near Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, small islands close to the southeast coast of the popular resort isle, police say.

The seven – five tourists and two instructors – left Bali on Friday morning after renting a boat from the beach town of Sanur, the Kyodo news agency reports.

Local police chief Nyoman Suarsika said on Saturday the group went for an afternoon dive in Nusa Penida’s Crystal Bay mangrove area and apparently did not surface.

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

The news agency said the missing women were named by police and rescue authorities as Ritsuko Miyata, 59, Emi Yamamoto, 33, Nahomi Tomita, 28, Aya Morizono, 27, Atsumi Yoshinobe, 29, Shoko Takahashi, 29, and Saori Furukawa, 27.

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.

Quoting the Indonesian skipper of the rented boat, the report said the Japanese dived twice on Friday morning but failed to return to the vessel after going for a third dive in the afternoon.

The country’s search and rescue agency and police combed nearby waters, beaches and the surrounding areas in a bid to find the group on Friday and Saturday, Bali search and rescue agency chief Didi Hamzar said.

“A helicopter was deployed … to spot victims which might be floating in the water. We have still not found any,” he said.

The search was halted on Saturday evening and will continue again on Sunday, Hamzar added.