Dash Marder Goes Missing While Diving In Indonesia

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Searchers this week continue to scour the sea near a remote Indonesian island for an East Hampton man who vanished while diving last week.

Dashiel Marder, 30, of Springs, has been missing since last Wednesday, April 17, when he failed to surface after a short dive, without air tanks, in an effort to shoot a tuna with a speargun.

His family, the owners of Marders Garden Center and Nursery in Bridgehampton, said that a search by Indonesian and Australian authorities and private boats is ongoing.

“On April 17th the Marder family received word that Dashiel Marder, who was spearfishing with a group of friends in East Nusa Tengarra Indonesia, did not resurface after a free-dive,” a statement from the family said. “The family was told that Dashiel’s companions immediately searched the dive site and surrounding area, both free-diving and scuba-diving, relying on direct knowledge of the location’s tides, currents, and rock formations, as well as on Dash’s particular diving habits. These initial searches yielded no results.”

Mr. Marder and the other divers were visiting the remote region of eastern Indonesia to spearfish. Some free-divers can dive as deep as 100 feet or more just holding their breath. But free divers have been known to experience bouts of what freedivers call “shallow water blackout,” in which a diver ascending back to the surface from a deep dive suddenly falls unconscious as they near the surface.

The island of Sumba is sparsely and primitively developed and the divers had set out by boat from the tiny town of Nihiwatu, more than 250 miles from the nearest major Indonesian city.

Mr. Marder is an accomplished free-diver and spearfisherman who has traveled the world to hunt exotic fish species such as the dogtooth tuna the group was pursuing in Indonesia. A photo of Mr. Marder swimming with a whale shark appeared on the front page of the East Hampton Press in August 2011.

The region where Mr. Marder went missing is in a narrow stretch of ocean off the island of Sumba in southern Indonesia, about 500 miles from northwestern Australia.

The remoteness has hampered both the search and communication by the family with searchers.

“Due to the remoteness of the area and differences in language and time zones, the fact-gathering process is ongoing,” a statement released by the family on Tuesday said, adding that the search is expected to be concluded later this week. “Yet, it is this very remoteness that sportsmen like Dashiel valued so dearly.”

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