Missing diver a friend of Miss Universe S'pore 2002
Miss Universe Singapore 2002 winner Nuraliza Osman was shocked to learn that her Methodist Girls' School classmate, Ms Rinta Mukkam, had gone missing during a diving trip in Indonesia.
"I did not even know she was a diver. She is a wonderful person with a big heart; I hope we hear her laughter again," the 40-year-old lawyer said.
She had seen the Facebook post by Mr Roy Mukkam, 36, last Friday asking for help.
Ms Mukkam, 40, an associate regional sales manager at aviation consultancy FlightGlobal, had failed to surface while diving with friends in waters off Gili Lawa Laut near Komodo island last Thursday.
Ms Nuraliza, who is also national director of the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation, told The New Paper yesterday that she had bumped into Ms Mukkam a few months ago.
"She was the same as (during) secondary school years. I remember her as a studious friend, who used to compete with me for first place...She was always first," she said.
Ms Nuraliza said their classmates had donated to the crowdfunding page, which has raised about $150,000 so far, to fund a private search effort.
Ms Mukkam's sister, Rubin, 30, told TNP: "We have engaged four speed boats and several fishing boats to help in the search."
Basarnas Kupang, the local unit of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, added more vessels and personnel to the search yesterday.
Its operation head, Mr Supriyanto Ridwan, told TNP: "If Ms Rinta is not found by Wednesday, we will limit the use of the ships but will continue monitoring and coordinating the search effort. If there is any sign of Ms Rinta, we will activate the ships."
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it had requested Basarnas to deploy more resources and will continue to assist to Ms Mukkam's next-of-kin.