Search for missing Singaporean diver widens
Sales manager failed to resurface at diving site near Komodo Island in Indonesia
A search is underway for Singaporean diver Rinta Mukkam, 40, who is missing in the waters off Gili Lawa Laut, near Komodo Island in Indonesia.
The associate regional sales manager at aviation consultancy FlightGlobal (Singapore) failed to resurface at Castle Rock diving site at 2pm on Thursday.
Her brother, Mr Roy Mukkam, 36, posted on Facebook for help to search for his sister.
The lawyer, who left for Indonesia yesterday, told The New Paper that his sister is an experienced diver who was with a group of friends.
Ms Mukkam is believed to have been with about 15 other divers in the vessel KLM Seamore Papua under dive operator Seamore Papua.
Indonesia's rescue agency, Badan SAR Kupang, was alerted at 2.30pm and searched the area until 6pm.
A staff member, Ms Irma Rasi, 32, told TNP yesterday that 17 of its personnel are involved in the search operations, which resumed at 6am yesterday until 6pm, and will continue today.
She said: "We are working closely with the local diving community to find Ms Mukkam."
A family friend started a crowdfunding campaign on GoGetFunding and hopes to raise $250,000 towards "further air and sea search efforts".
A diving operator, who wanted to be known only as Mr Moritz in Labuan Bajo, a fishing town where Ms Mukkam's diving trip is believed to have originated, said 25 diving operators had volunteered to join the search.
"As the search has passed 24 hours, we've stopped diving, and my boats are now searching on the surface," he said, adding that the search area has been widened.
He also said that after 24 hours, she is either alive and drifting or the body is floating.
The area is popular with divers, with Mr Moritz estimating that it gets about 25,000 divers a year.
A worker at The Dive Company in Singapore said it is popular with Singaporeans because of its rich underwater flora and fauna, good visibility and relative proximity.
Last year, the body of Ms Vera Neo Qiu Ping, 27, was recovered 17 hours after she was reported missing in the waters off Gili Lawa Laut. Her diving regulator and mouthpiece were missing.
A spokesman for FlightGlobal said: "We are doing our best to support Rinta and her family at this time."
Mr Moritz, whose boats are involved in the ongoing search, said that helicopters began the aerial search for Ms Mukkam on Saturday morning.
In a statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The Singapore Embassy in Jakarta has been in close contact with the local authorities on the missing Singaporean in Gili Lawa Laut, East Nusa Tenggara, including Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) which has mounted ongoing search and rescue operations.
The Embassy is deploying a Consular officer to the location. MFA and the Embassy will continue to provide the necessary consular assistance to the next-of-kin of the missing Singaporean.”