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Search continues for seven divers lost in Bali

By James Durston, CNN
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 0417 GMT (1217 HKT)
The rescue effort to find seven Japanese women missing after a dive near Bali has so far failed to find any clues.
The rescue effort to find seven Japanese women missing after a dive near Bali has so far failed to find any clues.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Seven divers, all Japanese women, failed to surface after a Feb 14 dive near Bali, Indonesia
  • Dive and rescue efforts were affected by heavy rain
  • 80 people involved in search, which will continue till Friday
  • Owner of dive company said he doesn't know what happened

(CNN) -- The owner of the dive company on the Indonesian island of Bali helping to search for seven missing divers has said he has "no clue what happened."

The owner of Yellow Scuba, who gave his name as Putu, spoke to CNN three days after five tourists and two dive instructors, all Japanese women, failed to return to the surface after a dive near the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, southeast of Bali on Friday.

The seven women ranged in age from 27 to 59.

"When the divers plunged into the water, the weather was still good," according to local news reports (login required) quoting the ship's captain.

"But about 15 minutes later, it was cloudy. I tried to find them but my efforts produced no results," the captain said in a written statement to police.

Yellow Scuba said the captain isn't employed by the company, but hired their boat.

Around 80 volunteers and official personnel have been involved in the search for the divers.
Around 80 volunteers and official personnel have been involved in the search for the divers.

Yellow Scuba has "stopped all dives for now," Putu said.

"We are still looking," said Putu. "It was their third dive, they went underwater, it was very clear when they were going down. I just get information from the captain, and don't know what happened."

Nyoman Sidakarya, who heads the task force searching for the women, said about 80 people were involved in the search, which will continue until the seventh day after the incident, according to procedure.

The search may be extended "considering the costs and benefits."

The area in which the women were diving is a noted beauty spot, "but it's also very dangerous," said Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika, citing "unpredictable natural aspects."

Heavy rains occurred during the dive that saw the divers go missing, and also on Saturday, hampering rescue efforts.

The period from October to April is monsoon season in Bali, which sees strong winds and bursts of heavy rain.

Kathy Quiano also contributed to this story.

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