This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Freediving champion feared dead after going missing off Spanish coast

The Russian sportswoman is thought to have got caught in a strong underwater current.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

SPANISH RESCUERS ARE searching today for freediving champion Natalia Molchanova, three days after she went missing during a recreational dive in the Mediterranean off Spain’s Balearic islands.

The 53-year-old Russian sportswoman failed to resurface after diving without fins to a depth of 30-40 metres off the coast of Formentera island on Sunday, the international diving federation AIDA and her family said in a joint statement.

She became separated from her peers and likely got caught in a strong underwater current, the statement added.

“The cause of Natalia’s disappearance is unknown, but she was doing what she loved. Natalia has a passion for free diving that burned so deep inside of her that she dedicated her life to it,” it said.

Spain’s rescue service deployed a helicopter, boat and several divers to search for the Russian at a depth of up to 100 metres on Sunday.

Molchanova was wearing weights at the time of the dive.

Her family also hired an underwater robot to search for her, a spokesman for Spain’s Guardia Civil police said. The search will continue until Sunday, he added.

Molchanova, a mother of two, is the most decorated freediver in the world, with 41 world records and 23 world championship titles.

Freediving is a form of underwater diving, in which divers hold their breath instead of using a breathing apparatus such as a scuba tank.

Molchanova’s feats include holding her breath for nine minutes and diving to a depth of 101 metres using a fin.

- © AFP 2015.

Read: At least 27 dead in India after trains derail in flash floods>

Read: Limerick pensioner mugging: Man in 20s no longer being detained>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:


Read next: