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Natalia Molchanova, world’s greatest free diver, goes missing in waters off Spanish island

The woman considered to be the world’s best free diver has gone missing while on a dive in the waters off the Spanish island of Ibiza. Natalia Molchanova, 53, went for a dive on Sunday in the Balearic Sea with three others, but did not resurface, according to her son. Molchanova, a Russian who holds numerous free-diving records, was on a recreational dive about 115 feet below the surface and reportedly was not using fins. After failing to resurface, her dive partners conducted their own brief search before notifying authorities, who launched a formal search. Since then, the search for Molchanova has intensified. Her son, Alexey, also a champion diver, is assisting and underwater robots that are able to reach depths of up to 500 feet have been dispatched. “This is something that nobody in their worst nightmare could ever imagine would happen,” Kimmo Lahtinen, the president of AIDA, the global federation for free-diving, told The New York Times. “She was a free-diving superstar and we all thought nothing could harm her.” Some locals are reportedly speculating that Molchanova was swept into a strong underwater current, a phenomenon for which the area is known.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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