300 gather to pray for missing diver's safety

A mass was held last night at the Church of St Mary of the Angels to pray for the safe return of Singaporean diver Rinta Paul Mukkam, who has been missing for two weeks. She had been on a diving trip off Komodo Island in Indonesia.
A mass was held last night at the Church of St Mary of the Angels to pray for the safe return of Singaporean diver Rinta Paul Mukkam, who has been missing for two weeks. She had been on a diving trip off Komodo Island in Indonesia.

With lit tealights in their hands, around 300 people gathered last night at the Church of St Mary of the Angels to pray for the safe return of Singaporean diver Rinta Paul Mukkam, who has been missing for two weeks.

Some were strangers who do not know her. Others were family and close friends. But all of them came together to sing hymns and pray for her at a mass held in the Catholic church in Bukit Batok.

Ms Rinta's siblings - Mr Roy Paul Mukkam, Ms Rubin Mukkam and Ms Renisha Mukkam - were in attendance during the mass. Their parents were also present.

Ms Rinta, 40, an associate regional sales manager, failed to surface on July 13 during a diving trip off Komodo Island. She was part of a group of 16 women diving in the area.

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On Sunday, Major-General Heronimus Guru, who is operational director of Basarnas, Indonesia's search and rescue agency, confirmed that official search operations had stopped after 10 days.

Mr Roy said: "There is nothing more we can do now." He said Basarnas had told him it would continue to keep a lookout for his sister.

On Monday, Ms Rubin told The Straits Times: "It is now time for us to step back and let God take the wheel."

The Facebook event page for the mass, hosted by Ms Rubin, informed guests not to wear black but to "come in (their) most colourful spirits and outfits".

Mr Gabriel Danakody, a 76-year-old retired diver, found out about the mass through Facebook, and decided to attend to pray for the Mukkam family.

"We hope that she will be found so that it brings closure for the family," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2017, with the headline '300 gather to pray for missing diver's safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe