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HomeFreedivingMissing World Champion Freediver Natalia Molchanova Was Teaching Russian Tycoon

Missing World Champion Freediver Natalia Molchanova Was Teaching Russian Tycoon

Updated 17:10 UTC/GMT 6th August

More details have emerged as the search goes on for Natalia Molchanova, the 53 year old Russian World Champion Freediver, who went missing after a dive on Sunday 2nd August off the Mediterranean island of Formentera near Ibiza.

RELATED: Profile: Natalia Molchanova

The champion Freediver was on the island running a Freediving course for the Russian Tycoon, Pavel Tyo, one of the co-owners of the Capital Group.  Local sources tell us that he has a house on Ibiza in an area called Roca Llisa as well as a 50m super-yacht called “Pumpkin”.

The “Pumpkin” was being used as the support vessel for the Freediving courses and has been used as part of the ongoing search in addition to local Civil and Maritime Police.  The search has encompassed depths of up to 100m.

The New York Times has additional details, in that Molchanov told NYT that “Pumpkin” was docked in port and the class took a rubber boat two miles offshore. Natalia reportedly set up a 20-meter/65-foot-deep line, commonly used to train beginner freedivers:

Mr. Molchanov said that Ms. Molchanova was their instructor and safety diver, which meant she would dive alongside them each time. Between instructional dives, he said, she did at least one and perhaps several of her own training dives to unknown depths.

If Ms. Molchanova was, in fact, the only experienced diver in the water — meaning she was diving without a capable safety diver — it would run counter to best practices among athletes and instructors in the sport, especially in a part of the world with unpredictable currents and heavy boat traffic.

At this point the underwater search has stopped using robots and is now being conducted only by divers.

RELATED: Natalia Molchanova – The Freediving World Reacts

Antonio Buendía, head of the local Maritime Search and Rescue Unit in Ibiza, had this to say to a local newspaper:

“Everything suggests that the sea has dragged the body of the record holder away from the point where it disappeared. In any case, hope is the last to die and it is still possible that the body appears to float in the next three or four days. “

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.