Natalia Molchanova is presumed dead after never resurfacing following a recreational freedive (without use of a breathing apparatus) off the coast of Spain.
Natalia Molchanova, who holds 41 world records and 23 world champion titles for freediving and is widely considered the greatest in the world at the sport, was diving with some friends on Sunday when she went under and never came back up.
A joint statement on Natalia Molchanova from Molchanova's family and AIDA International, the worldwide federation for breath-hold diving, was released on Tuesday.
It read, in part, "Natalia Molchanova was recreationally freediving off the coast of Spain on August 2, 2015 when she was separated from her peers. She was diving without fins to around 30 to 40 meters (98 to 132 feet) and (supposedly) got into (a) strong underwater current."
The statement went on to say, "Search efforts have been ongoing during daylight hours and the next day since she was reported missing by three peers. She disappeared while diving approximately two miles (3.2 km) northwest of the port of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus."
Natalia Molchanova's son, 28-year-old Alexey Molchanov, who is also a record-holding freediver, said of his extraordinary 54-year-old mother, "It seems she'll stay in the sea. I think she would like that."
It does seem like Natalia Molchanova would prefer her assumed grave to one in the hard ground.
In an interview last year, Natalia Molchanova explained her love for the sea, saying, “Freediving is not only sport, it’s a way to understand who we are.”
She added, “When we go down, if we don’t think, we understand we are whole. We are one with world. When we think, we are separate. On surface, it is natural to think and we have many information inside. We need to reset sometimes. Freediving helps do that.”
Hopefully, her family can find peace in the fact that Natalia Molchanova died doing what she loved. We should all be so lucky when our time comes.
What do you think about Natalia Molchanova's words on freediving and its ability to help one feel at one with the world?