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INDONESIA

Seven female Japanese scuba divers missing off Nusa Lembongan, Bali

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 5:07am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 5:07am

Seven Japanese women are still missing despite two days of searches after they disappeared on a scuba diving trip in waters off the Indonesian island of Bali.

The group vanished while diving near Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, small islands close to the southeast coast, Bali police spokesman Hariadi said.

The seven - five tourists and two instructors - left Bali on Friday morning after renting a boat from the beach town of Sanur.

Local police chief Nyoman Suarsika said the group began an afternoon dive in Nusa Penida's Crystal Bay mangrove area and appeared never to have surfaced.

"The weather was extreme at the time. The wind was strong with heavy rain," Suarsika told Kyodo news agency. The women are aged between 27 and 59.

Japanese government officials said all members of the party were experienced, having each completed at least 50 dive trips, Kyodo said. The Japanese instructors were based locally.

Quoting the Indonesian skipper of the rented boat, the report said the Japanese dived twice on Friday morning but failed to return after they went out for a third dive in the afternoon.

A search by Indonesia's search and rescue agency and police started late on Friday and continued yesterday.

"A helicopter was deployed ... to spot victims which might be floating in the water. We have still not found any," an official said. The search will continue today.

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