Family of missing diver raises over $50k for search

Ms Rinta Paul Mukkam has been missing since last Thursday.
Ms Rinta Paul Mukkam has been missing since last Thursday.

More than $50,000 has been raised as of yesterday evening to support efforts to find a Singaporean who went missing in Indonesian waters last Thursday.

Ms Rinta Paul Mukkam, a 40-year-old associate regional sales manager, failed to surface on Thursday during a diving trip off Komodo Island.

Ms Mukkam - who left Singapore on Wednesday and was due to return home tomorrow - had been part of a group of 16 women who were diving in the area.

She was discovered missing only after the group completed the dive and were boarding the boat.

A fund-raising effort on crowdfunding site GoGetFunding - started by family friend Srinesh Balakrishnan, a 37-year-old doctor - hopes to raise $250,000 towards "further air and sea search efforts".

Ms Mukkam's brother, 36-year-old lawyer Roy Paul Mukkam, arrived in the area on Friday to assist in the search for his sister and rented a helicopter to conduct search efforts from the air.

A helicopter costs about US$60,000 (S$82,500) per day to rent.

  • $250k

    What the family hopes to raise to help in the search efforts.

    $82k

    What it costs to rent a helicopter for a day to search.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta has been "in close contact with the local authorities".

These include Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), which has mounted search and rescue operations since Thursday.

Basarnas told The Straits Times on Friday that boat operators and Komodo-based dive centres were also helping out in the search operation.

The MFA spokesman said the embassy has also sent a consular officer to the location.

"MFA and the embassy will continue to provide the necessary consular assistance to the next of kin of the missing Singaporean," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 16, 2017, with the headline 'Family of missing diver raises over $50k for search'. Print Edition | Subscribe