The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) is intensifying efforts to locate 18-year-old Mohamed Naeesh Nasr, who disappeared while diving for lobster off Gan in Addu City. Naeesh, a 12th-grade student and experienced swimmer, went missing on Thursday night during an excursion with friends. 

The MNDF’s search, hampered by poor weather and low visibility, covers extensive areas both by air and sea, involving the Coast Guard Fourth Squadron and local fishing boats.

In a departure from previous practices, the MNDF is utilising an aircraft from Maldivian’s Aviation Academy, rather than the India-gifted Dornier aircraft typically deployed in such operations. The MNDF has not disclosed the reason for this decision. 

This move coincides with recent political developments, where President Mohamed Muizzu, has initiated steps to reduce Indian military presence and involvement in local matters. This includes a request for the withdrawal of Indian troops which previously handled the Dornier aircraft used for search and rescue operations. 

The community’s concern grows as no signs of Naeesh have been found, despite exhaustive search efforts. His family, describing him as a strong swimmer who was due to travel to Malé with them the following day, remains hopeful.