Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Rescued Japanese scuba diver recounts her ordeal

AFP, SEMAWANG, Indonesia

Balinese offerings are left on Semawang Beach in Denpasar, Indonesia, yesterday after the body of a Japanese scuba diver was found on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

A Japanese scuba diver who survived three days in waters off Bali after going missing with six other women has told how the weather suddenly turned bad and the sea spun “like a washing machine.”

Saori Furukawa, one of five Japanese divers rescued on Monday, gave her dramatic account as rescuers hunted for a woman still missing and a day after the body of one diver was found.

Furukawa said the weather had seemed “serene” when the group set off on Friday last week from Nusa Lembongan, just east of Bali.

“At the start of our diving there was no problem in terms of weather and sea conditions,” she said in a statement released to Japanese media late on Tuesday, adding there were “almost no waves.”

Suddenly the group was hit by a huge storm, she added.

“The surface of the sea started to spin like a washing machine and all of us spun around together, hand in hand,” she said.

The 37-year-old and four others managed to clamber onto rocks and coral reefs after drifting for a long time and were picked up by rescuers on Monday and taken to hospital.

They were found about 20km from where they set off, although Furukawa was in a different spot to the others.

She had separated from the other divers to try and reach a passing tugboat in the hope it would pick them up, but said that she “couldn’t get close.”

“The current was running in the opposite direction from the current where the rest of the members stayed, so I was swept further away from them,” she said.

She arrived at a rocky outcrop late on Saturday and survived for a further two days by drinking rainwater.

Rescuers continued to search for the seventh diver, instructor Shoko Takahashi, who with her Indonesian husband ran the company Yellow Scuba that took the divers out on the expedition.

Her husband, Putu Mahardena Sembah, joined the search yesterday, telling reporters: “I wish we can find” her.

However, police cautioned that her chances of survival were slim after five days at sea.

Rescue officials said they would expand their search area to the neighboring island of Lombok.

The rescued divers remain hospitalized in Bali with sunburn and dehydration.

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