Search for missing diver extended by 3 days

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

The official search for missing Singaporean diver Rinta Paul Mukkam has been extended till Saturday.

Ms Maria Imaculata Pilomena Rasi, a search and rescue analyst at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), said that three more days will be added to the search efforts.

The standard duration of search operations conducted by the agency is seven days. According to Basarnas, the search for Ms Rinta was into its seventh day yesterday.

The 40-year-old associate regional sales manager failed to surface last Thursday during a diving trip off Komodo Island. She had been part of a group of 16 women who were diving in the area.

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Yesterday morning, an appeal letter to extend the duration of official search efforts was sent to Basarnas, signed off by Mr Roy Paul Mukkam, Ms Rinta's brother. "It would be devastating to close the search without finding her," the letter said. The Straits Times understands Mr Roy was informed about the interim approval for extension by Basarnas.

The fund-raising effort on crowdfunding sites GoGetFunding and GiveAsia, started by a family friend, Dr Srinesh Balakrishnan, 37, to finance the search-and-rescue efforts, has stopped after raising $166,028 since last Saturday to fund the chartering of a helicopter for an aerial search.

Dr Balakrishnan said he stopped the fund-raising effort as he is not clear on how much more money is needed at this stage of the search- and-rescue effort, which now involves ships and one lifeboat.

Two representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta have been deployed to help with search-and-rescue efforts.

Yap Li Yin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Search for missing diver extended by 3 days'. Print Edition | Subscribe