A search operation for seven Japanese scuba divers who went missing in waters near the Indonesian island of Bali has failed to find any traces of them for the third day since the group of women vanished on Friday.

The divers – five tourists and two Bali-based instructors – did not resurface after their third dive near the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida southeast of Bali on Friday afternoon, said deputy consular general of Japan in Bali Yasue Katsunobu.

Efforts on Saturday were halted after an unsuccessful search. On Sunday, a search party including rescue boats and aircraft resumed combing the waters for any signs of the group but still found nothing.

“A helicopter was deployed … to spot victims who might be floating in the water. We have still not found any,” Bali search and rescue agency chief Didi Hamzar told AFP.

“In accordance with standard procedures, the search will continue until the fifth day,” he said. “It could be extended, depending on the situation, by considering the costs and benefits.”

“We are putting our best efforts and hopefully we can find them in safe conditions.”

Local police Chief Nyoman Suarsika said the group left for the Crystal Bay mangroves, a beautiful but considerably dangerous diving spot because of “down currents” that can quickly pull divers deep and keep them churning below for minutes, according to reports.

Weather was reported to be bad at the time the group disappeared. The dive boat’s skipper, hired from Yellow Scuba on the beachside strip of Sanur, alerted police when the women failed to come up for air.

All of the missing divers, two of whom were based locally and so knew the area, were said to be experienced, according to Kyodo News.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Sebra / Shutterstock.com