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Body of final Japanese diver found in Indonesia

MALANG, Indonesia -- A body believed to be that of a Japanese diver who went missing with six others off Bali a month ago has been found far from where she disappeared, Indonesian police said Monday.

The body, thought to be that of diving instructor Shoko Takahashi, was found at the weekend on Sempu island, East Java province, some 400 kilometers from where the divers went missing.

Five of the other female Japanese divers in the group were rescued days after they went missing on Feb. 14, while the body of a sixth washed up on the Indonesian resort island.

The body found at the weekend was barely recognizable — the head was missing — but Takahashi's Balinese husband believes it is her due to the clothes inside the diving suit, police said.

“The body was found on Saturday on a beach on Sempu island in Malang district,” Malang marine police chief Slamet Prayitno told AFP.

“The husband, who came to the hospital last night, said he is 98 percent sure that the body belongs to his missing Japanese wife.”

The body was flown to a hospital in Bali late Sunday, he said.

Takahashi was based on the resort island and with her Balinese husband ran the operator Yellow Scuba that took the divers out on the ill-fated expedition.

The captain of the boat that took them out has been arrested and faces a charge of “negligence which caused the loss of life” after leaving the divers alone in the open seas during the trip.

The women, all experienced divers, went on the expedition off Nusa Lembongan island, just east of Bali, an area famed for its stunning underwater beauty but also strong, unpredictable currents.

The survivors have told how the weather suddenly turned stormy and huge waves pushed them for miles before they managed to clamber onto a rocky outcrop near neighboring Nusa Penida island.

They were eventually spotted on the outcrop and plucked to safety. They suffered dehydration and sunburn but no life-threatening injuries.

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