AIDA International release statement on missing No-Limits Freediver

AIDA International, the international federation that represents competitive freediving, has released a statement on its website announcing the loss of Adel Abu Haliqa.

The statement says:

“It is with deepest regret that AIDA notes the loss of one of its members, Adel Abu Haliqa.  Adel was a frequent competitor, and represented the United Arab Emirates at the 2009 Depth World Championships.  Adel was in Greece training for national record attempts in several depth disciplines, including no limits.

On 7 June, during a 70m no-limits training dive, Adel appears to have released his safety lanyard at depth, opened the tank valve to fill the lift bag, and then separated from the sled.  The sled surfaced without the diver.  Safety divers (in the 30-40m range) were unable to locate Adel; one variable weight dive to approximately 75m also failed to locate the diver.  Prior to the dive, a safety diver verified that Adel had attached the lanyard to the line above the sled.  What caused the diver to become separated from the sled remains unclear.  The Greek Coast Guard was immediately notified, and commenced search operations, but was unable to locate Adel.

Those that were fortunate enough to have known Adel knew him for his courtesy, his faith, and his friendship.  In addition to training, teaching and competing, Adel also worked to develop the sport of freediving in his home country, the UAE:  Adel was co-founder of AIDA UAE, and the primary mover behind its obtaining AIDA Observer member status this year.  An AIDA Instructor, Adel taught courses in the Emirates, and arranged specialist courses for divers there.

AIDA would like to pass its best wishes to Adel’s family in this difficult time, and to thank Adel for generously donating his time and efforts for the development of freediving in the Emirates, a country with a long and rich tradition of freediving (dating back thousands of years with traditional pearl divers).

Adel is survived by his wife Nada, his sons Mohammed (10) and Ali (4), and his daughter Amna (8).  Adel’s brother Hussain (with other family members) remains in Santorini to coordinate search operations, and have stated that he and his family have faith that Adel may still return to them safely.

On Behalf of Aida Board,

Kimmo Lahtinen
AIDA, president”

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