16 Aug 2019

Rough seas in Tonga hamper search for missing German diver

5:49 pm on 16 August 2019

Police divers in Tonga searching for a German tourist who disappeared while whale watching are being recalled due to rough seas.

Tonga's Acting Deputy Police Commissioner said divers found no sign of missing woman, 40 year old Marina Trost, during their search this morning.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Atunaisa Taumoepeau said a flipper thought to be from the missing woman was found by police on Monday.

A dive belt was found by members of her whale watching group soon after she failed to surface on Sunday.

He said rough seas have hampered the search on the coast of 'Eua where the woman was scuba diving.

"On Tuesday we'd ceased our surface marine search because the sea was pretty rough that evening until this morning. And then we went back to the scene with a couple of divers. I just spoke with them right now. They're on their way back because we're forecast that there's rough seas coming up from the south," said Atunaisa Taumoepeau.

He said it is likely the search will now be suspended until any further evidence appears.

Tongan Police and the German Consulate have been in regular contact with the woman's family.

There is a marine alert for boats in the area to look out for any evidence.

The Australian navy and local volunteers have helped police try to find the woman.