Could Natalia Molchanova be dead? This is the rumor which has persisted since the “world’s greatest free diver” took a plunge in the Mediterranean and didn’t surface.
Until Molchanova is found, it can only be assumed that on her dive in Ibiza, she encountered a strong underwater current which swept her into further danger.
Natalia holds dozens of world’s records for free diving, including doing so without a breathing apparatus, holding her breath for nine minutes, and diving 71 meters in Egypt. Part of her unique style also included a suit which is 1.5 millimeters thick, a design she helped invent with her son, Alexey. The suit was created to minimize buoyancy and make for easier free-dives, and she wore kilogram weights around her neck to aid in the initial plunge.
Even Molchanova’s breathing technique might not have saved her this time, another habit she used to breathe more efficiently and lower her heart rate. She would inhale once and then exhale twice as long and deep.
Sadly, 53-year-old world record free diver Natalia Molchanova has been assumed dead following her descent into the waters of Ibiza. Alexey stated that his mother and three other divers were only taking the plunge on Sunday for fun, not to set any records.
About three kilometers west of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus, the currents are known to be unpredictable, and with Molchanova’s history, it was believed that nothing could harm her in the water. She had even allegedly gone under without a tether, according to the Age, and as a result, she made it much more difficult to determine where she had gone.
Natalia Molchanova, considered world’s best freediver, feared dead after going missing during dive off Spain. http://t.co/fsS999H8nc
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 5, 2015
After failing to surface, fellow divers had begun a local search for Natalia Molchanova, dead set on finding her if she was somehow unconscious, having possibly hit her head on the way down. The search eventually widened to include the coast guard and air support from a Helimar 213 chopper. The search was even resumed the following day, but Natalia has not been found, even after an underwater robot was used on Tuesday.
The underwater athlete had once been an professional swimmer before leaving the sport to have a family, and then returned to the water 20 years later to earn her collection of world records.
Miguel Félix Chicón, head of Spain’s coast guard in the Balearic Islands, claimed every effort has been used to find Natalia Molchanova, now assumed dead.
“We searched all evening until the sun set. We combed the entire zone and ruled out the possibility that she was near the surface.
Everything suggests she was wearing weights of around six kilos.
The specialist divers from the Guardia Civil need to use a blend of helium, nitrogen, and oxygen to be able to carry out their work. They can only dive for short periods of time and many safety precautions must be taken to allow them to work under those conditions.”
Nothing more is known of the fate of the famed Russian free diver. Until she is found, Natalia Molchanova can only be assumed dead.
[Image via Divot / Wikipedia]