Search and Rescue struggles to evacuate foreign tourists swept away at Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida

Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) is trying to evacuate two foreign tourists, one South African and one Danish man, swept away by strong currents at Nusa Penida yesterday afternoon.

Located off the southeast coast of Bali, Nusa Penida is a small, less-developed island that is gaining popularity with travelers.

The tourists had been spear fishing, in a group of three, on the Atuh Coast around 3pm yesterday when the current took them by surprise. After about an hour of fishing, the three young men were dragged out in a southerly direction.

One of the men was able to save himself by swimming to the beach on the mainland, but the other two apparently got taken further out by the current. 

Nusa Penida Police Chief Ketut Suastika explained that there’s hope that the two tourists may still be alive, explaining that they have been located on a rocky islet off the jagged coast of the island’s Atuh Beach.

“We launched a search for the victims. At around 6pm, two of the victims were seen from the cliff edge of one of the islands around Atuh Beach. At that moment the condition of the tide was still low. The location of the island is difficult to reach,” Suastika told Tribun Bali on Wednesday.

Because of the changing tide conditions and the islet’s difficulty to access, Basarnas has not been able to “86”, or extract the victims yet.

“At 1am, this morning, the victims were still monitored as being safe, but at this time we have not 86’d,” Suastika said, adding that he’d announce any further developments.

A local government representative, BPBD Klungkung councilman, Putu Widiada said his office was trying to coordinate with Basarnas and police for the victims’ evacuatoin.

“The victims may still be safe, because they were able to call out,” Widiada said.

It’s understood that the three tourists had been camping out for the past three weeks around Atuh Beach, local residents told Tribun Bali.

Editor’s Note: While it was originally reported by local media that both tourists evacuated were South African, it’s come to our attention that one of the men is actually Danish. We have updated this story to include this correction. 

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