New Delhi: Regarded as one of the greatest free-divers of all time, Natalia Molchanova is feared dead after she failed to surface after a dive off the Mediterranean island of Formentera.
In an unrivalled career, the 53-year-old Russian won 23 world titles, besides creating 41 world records. She is now presumed dead after going missing during a recreational dive in the Balearic Sea, on Sunday.
Her son Alexey told the New York Times that current President of the Russian Freedive Federation was not expected to be found alive after two days of futile searching. Molchanova was diving to a planned depth of 35 metres (115 feet) with friends.
Aida International, the free diving world governing body, issued a joint statement with Molcahnova’s family paying tribute to her achievements.
“She was an inspiration to all freedivers and despite being one of the fiercest competitors in the world, she was always calm and relaxed during competitions,” the statement read.