Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the island council of Maamendhoo stated on Thursday that the ongoing efforts to locate a young woman, who went missing in the channel near Gaadhoo island, have not yielded any results despite scouring all of Laamu Atoll.
Aminath Shima Nafiz, 19, was travelling with a friend, Ibrahim Fazeel, 24, on a dinghy from Fonadhoo to Maamendhoo on February 22, when the small boat capsized in the Gaadhoo channel around 1850 hours. Shima was lost to sea while Fazeel was able to safely swim to the nearby resort, Six Senses Laamu.
Weather conditions were rough at the time of the incident, according to Maamendhoo Island Council.
Search operations commenced that night itself, with the public assisting MNDF and the police to find Shima and the dinghy.
According to MNDF's spokesperson, Ibrahim Azim, the forces had assessed the ocean currents and wind patterns around the area where the dinghy capsized, and searched the region via both air and sea. However, they have not been successful yet.
MNDF also deployed a diving robot to search an underwater area of 400 kilometres.
Maamendhoo Council's Vice President Hussain Habeeb Ali further shared that MNDF, Police and island residents have searched around the 10 inhabited and 20 uninhabited islands of the atoll to no avail.
Shima's family and a team of Maamendhoo residents also searched Gaadhoo, and the nearby uninhabited island of Hulhumendhoo, while divers scoured the waters around Six Senses Laamu.
Following the accident, Shima's family levied accusations against her friend, Fazeel, claiming that his accounts of the incident were inconsistent.
However, Fazeel refuted the allegations, stating that he had looked after his longtime friend when she insisted on travelling to Maamendhoo on Friday. He asserted that he had tried his best to save Shima after the dinghy capsized but lost her.
Police are currently investigating the incident, but are yet to disclose details.