Rabat - After two days of looking for Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova, Spain’s rescue services have called off their search, presuming the most decorated freediver in the world to be dead.
Rabat – After two days of looking for Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova, Spain’s rescue services have called off their search, presuming the most decorated freediver in the world to be dead.
Natalia Molchanova, the 53-year-old holder of 41 world records and 23 world champion titles, was diving for pleasure off the Spanish island of Formentera in the Balearic Sea on Sunday when she never returned to the surface.
Officials believe that during her dive, Molchanova became caught up in a strong underwater current.
According to a joint statement from Molchanova’s family and Aida, Molchanova had been diving without fins around 30 to 40 meters when she supposedly got into the underwater current.
Maritime rescue co-ordinator Miguel Chicon said the operation to find Molchanova was “very complicated” because Molchanova could have become trapped by weights she was wearing at the time of the dive.
“It seems she’ll stay in the sea. I think she would like that,” Molchanova’s son, Alexey, who also holds 4 world records for freediving, told the New York Times.
Among the freediver’s various and extensive accomplishments, she had a nine minute breath hold, could dive to a depth of 101m using a fin and swim a distance of 234m with a fin.
Molchanova was the creator and president of the Freediving Federation of Russia and had “created one of the most vibrant recreational freediving communities in the world,” according to her family’s statement.
The statement concluded that Molchanova died doing what she loved. “Natalia has a passion for freediving that burned so deep inside of her that she dedicated her life to it.”