Rescued Japanese divers Nahomi Tomita, 28, left, and Atsumi Yoshinobe, 29, speak at a press conference at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, Bali on February 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)
Malang. The body of a woman, believed to be the Japanese scuba diver who went missing off Bali last month, was found floating off Sendang Biru beach in Malang, East Java.
“For now, we believe the victim is the Japanese woman who went missing in Nusa Lembongan, Bali, a while ago,” Adj. Comr. Slamet Prayitno, head of the water unit of Sendang Biru Police, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.
According to Slamet, police were still unable to identify the victim because some of her body parts were missing. But he said they suspect that it may be the body of the missing Japanese scuba diver because the victim was wearing a black diving suit.
The body, found by a local fisherman on Friday night, was floating about a kilometer from Sendang Biru beach, Sempu Island. The fisherman eventually reported the find to local police on Saturday.
“We could not retrieve the body right away because the beach was surrounded by sharp rocks, so we were forced to turn back to fetch a body bag and additional personnel,” Slamet said.
The team eventually managed to take the body to Sendang Biru pier on Saturday evening.
The victim was later brought to Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang for an autopsy.
“The consulate general responded that there was a possibility that the body might be the diving instructor who went missing when her boat capsized off Bali, but the consulate staff and members of the family will come to the hospital to confirm it,” Slamet said.
Seven Japanese female scuba divers were declared missing in Nusa Lembongan after their boat was hit by a big wave on Feb. 14.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency at the time identified the women as Ritsuko Miyata, 59, Emi Yamamoto, 33, Nahomi Tomita, 28, Aya Morizono, 27, Atsumi Yoshinobe, 29, Shoko Takahashi, 29, and Saori Furukawa, 27.
Three days after they went missing, the search-and-rescue team managed to find five of them alive. The women told AFP that after drifting for a long time, they were slammed against rocks near the coast and were “swallowed by big waves three to four times.”
Four of them managed to clamber onto rocks in a remote area off Nusa Penida Island, adjacent to Nusa Lembongan.
They sheltered from the sun during the day and climbed to the highest point to flash distress signals at night, fighting all the time against exhaustion and thirst.
The body of the sixth woman was found the next day floating off Serangan beach in southern Bali.