53 Year Old Free diver Natalia Molchanova Missing Since 8/2/15 and Feared Dead off the Coast of Spain Near the Island of Formentera
53 year old free diver Natalia Molchanova has been missing since Sunday, August 8, 2015 off the coast of Spain near the Island of Formentera. Molchanova was “recreationally freediving” without fins on Sunday when she became separated from her group. She disappeared approximately two miles northwest of the port of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus. Natalia Molchanova holds 41 world records and is a 23-time world champion in freediving. The extreme sport requires divers to hold their breath rather than use scuba gear or oxygen tanks. Sadly, this trailblazer in the sport is feared dead.
World champion free diver Natalia Molchanova was missing and feared dead Wednesday, more than two days after she disappeared while recreationally diving off the coast of Spain.
The international diving association AIDA said the 53-year-old Russian apparently dove into a strong current off the island of Formentera.
“Search efforts have been ongoing during daylight hours and the next day since she was reported missing by three peers,” AIDA said in a statement.
Free divers swim as deeply as they can while holding their breath. AIDA said Molchanova could hold her breath for nine minutes.
Molchanova, the mother of two, is the most decorated competitive free diver in the world. AIDA said she holds 41 world records and is a 23-time world champion. She also has a doctorate in teaching sciences and has authored multiple scientific articles and two free diving training handbooks. She designed and taught free-diving programs worldwide, training thousands of divers.
Formentera, Spain. Natalia Molchanova was recreationally freediving off the coast of Spain on August 2, 2015 when she was separated from her peers. She was diving without fins to around 30 to 40 m and supposable got into strong underwater current. Search efforts have been ongoing during daylight hours and the next day since she was reported missing by three peers. She disappeared while diving approximately two miles northwest of the port of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus.
Natalia is a proud mother of Oksana and Alexey. She loved children and was awaiting the day when she would become a Grandmother. She was an inspiration to all freedivers and despite being one of the fiercest competitors in the world, she was always calm and relaxed during competitions. She said “birth and death are important, but freediving competitions are just games for adults”. The cause of Natalia’s disappearance is unknown, but she was doing what she loved. Natalia has a passion for freediving that burned so deep inside of her that she dedicated her life to it.
Natalia Molchanova, widely regarded as the greatest free diver in history, wore her favorite purple wet suit Sunday on a chartered boat off the coast of Formentera, an island near Ibiza. Only 1.5 millimeters thick, the wet suit was low buoyancy, designed specifically for divers like her who want to go deep on a single breath. It was a Molchanova, the brand she started with her son, Alexey Molchanov.
With clear skies and a light breeze on the Balearic Sea, off the eastern coast of Spain, Ms. Molchanova attached a neck weight — a pound or two, at most — that would help her descend. Then she dipped into the water to begin what divers call breathing up. A lower heart rate enables divers to use precious oxygen more efficiently. To relax deeply, Ms. Molchanova would inhale for a few seconds, then exhale twice as long and twice as deep.
Those may have been among Ms. Molchanova’s last breaths. She then proceeded to attempt a recreational dive to a depth that was modest for her, and she never resurfaced. After two days of intense search efforts, Alexey Molchanov said Tuesday afternoon that his mother, 53, was not expected to be found alive.