More resources committed to search operations for missing diver

Ms Rinta Paul Mukkam's brother, Roy Paul Mukkam, posted this picture on his Facebook on Thursday (July 13) evening, asking for help and information. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ROY PAUL MUKKAM
Ms Rinta Paul Mukkam's brother, Roy Paul Mukkam, posted this picture on his Facebook on Thursday (July 13) evening, asking for help and information. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ROY PAUL MUKKAM

SINGAPORE - The search for missing Singaporean diver Rinta Paul Mukkam continues in its fifth day, with more resources being committed to the search operations, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Monday (July 17).

Following a request by the MFA, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has deployed "additional assets including a search and rescue vessel, a police speed boat, and a navy vessel", the ministry said in a statement.

The Basarnas has also indicated that it will continue to try and obtain additional suitable assets for the operations, it added.

Ms Rinta, a 40-year-old associate regional sales manager, failed to surface on Thursday (July 13) during a diving trip off Komodo Island. She had been part of a group of 16 women who were diving in the area.

Since the incident, the MFA and the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta have been in close contact with the local authorities.

A fund-raising effort on crowdfunding sites GoGetFunding and GiveAsia was also started by a family friend, Dr Srinesh Balakrishnan, 37, to fund the search and rescue efforts.

As of Monday, the two sites have raised slightly over $150,000.

According to Ms Rinta's sister, lawyer Rubin Mukkam, 30, a helicopter was chartered privately using funds from the family and funds donated, to conduct an aerial search on Saturday and Sunday (July 15 and 16), and for two hours on Monday.

However, the "search team on site... is of the view that further aerial efforts may not be efficient at this juncture, and that boats are now required to cover the gaps", said Ms Rubin.

The family has also engaged four speed boats and several fishing boats to be deployed on Tuesday to continue with search operations.

"MFA will continue to render consular assistance to the next-of-kin of the missing Singaporean and support the ongoing SAR operations, including to deploy another consular officer to the location," read the statement.