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World Diving Record Broken at Sail Bunaken

Dalih Sembiring

Divers line up to break the record. (Photo: Antara)

Divers line up to break the record. (Photo: Antara)

Nearly 3,000 divers set a world record Sunday for the largest group dive by plunging into the famed waters of Bunaken, North Sulawesi.

The information center of the Sail Bunaken 2009 committee said 2,818 people participated in the event, but only 2,805 people stayed underwater for at least 25 minutes. That is the minimum length of time required by the Guinness Book of Records, whose representatives were on hand to witness the new record.

"Divers began entering the water at 8 in the morning. By midday, all of them had returned to shore," Koesdiantoro of the Sail Bunaken 2009 committee said.

The mass dive also marked Indonesia's Independence Day, August 17. An Indonesian flag will be unfurled underwater tomorrow as part of the independence celebrations.

Sail Bunaken is a government-sponsored festival designed to promote Manado, and the visually rich waters of Bunaken, as an international tourist hotspot.

Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi, who also heads the festival committee, said Manado had seen a spike in economic growth thanks to Sail Bunaken.

"The growth is temporary, but it has given the people of North Sulawesi a chance to learn how to develop their local potential," he said.

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