Singaporean woman, 27, found dead after scuba diving in Indonesia

The body of Ms Neo Qiu Ping Vera was found on Monday (April 25, 2016) after she failed to return from diving in the waters of Gili Lawa (marked on the map) on Sunday. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean woman was found dead in Indonesian waters on Monday after going missing on a scuba diving trip.

Ms Neo Qiu Ping Vera, 27, was reported missing on Sunday evening after she had failed to return from diving in the waters of Gili Lawa in Komodo National Park, West Manggarai Regency.

The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia told The Straits Times her body was found near the dive site at about 11am on Monday. Her body is now at Siloam Hospital in the nearby town of Labuan Bajo.

According to Indonesian media, Ms Neo had been on a diving trip with five other Singaporeans and five Indonesians, as well as local tour guide Putu Sudiartana. They had set out on Saturday on a cruise boat run by tour company Komodo Trails to the dive site.

After diving on Sunday, most of the group returned to the boat at about 5pm, but Ms Neo did not resurface. The group searched for Ms Neo for about an hour. The boat captain then called the authorities to report a missing passenger.

As nightfall was approaching, an eight-man search operation started only the next day at 6am.

Ms Neo, whose occupation is not known, became a qualified autonomous diver with Scuba Schools International in October 2014, having logged seven or more dives, and earned her Advanced Adventurer certification in December that year after going on at least 18 dives.

A Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said they are in touch with Ms Neo's family and have deployed an officer to Labuan Bajo to stay in touch with the local authorities and help other Singaporeans who are there.

The place where Ms Neo went diving is known to be dangerous due to strong currents. Last October, China tourist Tuo Guangbin also drowned while diving there.

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