A New Zealander has been swept away to sea in Indonesia while attempting to rescue his girlfriend.
Auckland man Temson Junior Semeki and his partner, Leonie Hafke, were swept away in Angel’s Billabong, a tourist spot off the coast of Bali, on Monday night.
The Balinese website Tribun Bali said the couple, along with an Indonesian friend, were taking photos on the edge of a cliff. They were struck by sudden large waves, which washed 20-year-old Hafke into the sea and knocked their friend to the ground.
One witness who lives in Bali was also on the rocks with her friends at the time, and has described the horrific scene to Newshub.
She says the first wave smashed into Ms Hafke. “She was screaming for help, wounded, and nobody could do anything because the next wave was already on its way.” Mr Simeki panicked and dove into the water after her.
“Besides this couple, there were more people around there and who got seriously injured. An Indonesian girl bumped her head onto the rocks, fortunately she survived and has been brought to the hospital,” the witness, who lives in Bali said, as quoted from newshub.co.nz.
Tribun Bali said the young woman, who is originally from Germany, was rescued by an Australian snorkeller. However, Semeki disappeared amongst the waves.
A search for Semeki was called off on Monday evening but would continue from first light on Tuesday, local time.
The New Zaeland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been in contact with the family. “The New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta is following up with local police,” a spokesman said.
Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool, is a tourist destination on the island of Nusa Penida, near Broken Beach.
Reviews left by travellers on the website TripAdvisor warn of strong currents and rogue waves. “A friend of mine was swept across the sharp rocks by an unusually high wave that entered the billabong area,” he said. “During my own visit last week, I slipped and fell on the sharp lava rocks and broke my foot and twisted my ankle.”
A very similar incident happened at Angel’s Billabong in 2016, when a large wave swept a Perth couple out to sea.