A MALAKE island diver is the latest drowning victim.
Dead is 32-year-old Osea Gata who drowned while on a spearfishing expedition on Thursday night with seven others.
Police West spokeswoman Naina Ragigia confirmed Mr Gata had left his island village in a 28-foot fibreglass boat before the incident.
"He was the captain of the boat and had gone with seven other men and they stopped to dive about five kilometers away from the island," she said.
"The seven divers went into the water while Mr Gata was alone in the boat. After a few minutes, the divers noticed that the boat was moving around in circles and after a while the engine stopped.
"Two of the divers went to the surface to see what was wrong and they saw that the deceased was missing."
Ms Ragigia said the rest of the divers resurfaced and they waited until daylight before searching for the deceased.
"They found Mr Gata's body about five metres below water after the search.
"They took his body to the Rakiraki Hospital where a post-mortem will be conducted."
She added an emergency post-mortem examination was conducted yesterday.
Mr Gata's drowning takes the national drowning death toll to nine compared with eight for the same period last year.