Israeli diver disappears in Russia's Blue Lake

Netanya resident Dimitri Sapozhnikov disappeared while diving in Blue Lake, located near the city of Nalchik in south Russia.

The 42-year-old diving instructor, who is married and has a teenage daughter, never came out of the water.

Sapozhnikov began his vacation in Russia two weeks ago and was scheduled to return to Israel in four days. "He loved to dive. That's what he did in Israel, and every now and then he traveled abroad to dive – mostly in Russia," his wife Tamara told Ynet Thursday.

"He flew alone and told me he planned to dive in the Blue Lake on Tuesday. There is a diving club in Nalchik, which is a pretty remote place. We were in touch daily. He said everything was fine, that he had bought presents for our daughter and that he was having a great time. He told me that he was going to dive on Tuesday and take a train to Moscow the next day – and from there he would fly back home," she said.

"I called his cell phone on Tuesday to ask how the dive went, but someone else answered so I hung up – thinking I dialed the wrong number. I immediately phoned his brother Nikolai, who said that according to the person who answered the phone, Dimitri never got out of the water. I called again and the same person, who apparently works at the diving club, told me that everything seemed to be fine when Dimitri entered the water – but he never came out. I was in shock and couldn't stop crying."

That same day Nikolai flew to Russia to search for his missing brother. Tamara said the brother had contacted the Foreign Ministry but that a search has yet to be launched. "Forty-eight hours have passed and nothing is happening. Dimitri always checks his equipment before diving, he is very responsible. Maybe he lost consciousness or came out of the water at another location and was disoriented. I don’t believe he never came out of that lake," she said.
Attorney Haim Mishali, who is representing the family, said the Foreign Ministry has sent an official request to Russian authorities to conduct a search – "but it went unanswered. The family is under the impression that not enough has been done."

The Foreign Ministry said it has asked Russian authorities to send a search team to the lake. "We are doing all we can to locate Dimitri Sapozhnikov," the ministry said.


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