‘World’s greatest’ freediver missing feared dead off Spanish island

Further easyJet flights affected after cancellations hit Spain's Malaga airport. Image: Alexandre Rotenberg/ Shuttershock.com

A FREEDIVER, considered one of the greatest in her sport, has been missing since Sunday (August 2) off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Formentera, and is feared to have died.

Natalia Molchanova was carrying out a 35-metre dive near La Savina port on the small island, near Ibiza, when she failed to resurface. It’s believed she may have hit a strong underwater current. 

The 53-year-old Russian holds an incredible 41 world records in freediving, where divers rely on holding their breath and do not use oxygen tanks, and could hold her breath for nine minutes. 

Her son, Alexey Molchanov, has said that his mother was now not expected to be found alive. 

The depths involved have complicated the search and it’s likely the diver is reported to have been wearing weights to aid her descent in the water.

Aida International, the world body for the sport, alongside Molchanova’s family, has released a statement in testimony to her talent, saying: “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.”

The website Deeper Blue describes her as “a superwoman.”

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