Natalia Molchanova, 53, arguably the world’s greatest ever free diver has failed to surface after a dinve in the Balearic Sea, near Spain.
Molchanova was diving on Sunday with three others on the coast of Formentera. Speaking with the New York Times her son Alexey said they do not expect to find her alive.
Free diving is a sport and competition in which individuals dive to the greatest possible depths without any breathing aids. Molchanova was diving to a depth of about 40 meters, much less than her word record of 101 metres set in May in Egypt.
Yet reports claim she was diving in an area notorious for its unpredictable currents. The water temperature was around 26 degrees Celsius, but further down this would become colder. Such sudden changes in temperature can possibly shock the body.
When Molchanova failed to surface her fellow divers began searching on their own; when this yielded nothing they called for help. Private boats and the Coast Guard, helicopters and eventually submersible robots were called in. But to no avail.
Molchanova holds 41 world records, has won the world championship in free diving 23 times, and can hold her breath for longer than 9 minutes.
The worldwide community of free divers are in mourning for a woman loved and respected by all.