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British diver rescued off Malaysia says his son died at sea after Mersing incident

British diver rescued off Malaysia says his son died at sea after Mersing incident

A member of the Royal Malaysia police displays a recent picture of British national Adrian Peter Chesters, one of two divers found alive along with French national Alexia Alexandra Molina. They went missing on Apr 6, 2022, off Malaysia's southeast coast near Mersing in Johor state. (Photo: AFP/Mohd RASFAN)

MERSING: A Dutch teenager who disappeared after going diving off the coast of Malaysia is dead, according to his father who was found drifting at sea on Saturday (Apr 9), officials said.

Fourteen-year-old Nathan Renze Chesters and his British father Adrian Peter Chesters, 46, were in a group of four who went missing

The elder Chesters and Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, from France were rescued by fishermen at about 1am off Indonesia's Bintan island, southeast of Singapore, and about 100km south of where they went missing, officials said.

The group's instructor, Kristine Grodem, 35, from Norway, was rescued on Thursday.

Nathan, whose body has not been recovered, was confirmed to have died by his father, "as he was too weak and could not survive", the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said in a statement.

Police had said Indonesian authorities would take over the search for the teenager as he had likely drifted into their waters.

"We believe there is a high likelihood that he is no longer in Malaysian waters based on the movement of sea currents, as well as the time and location where the other victims were found," Mersing district police chief Cyril Edward Nuing told reporters.

Malaysian assets would be on standby to help, he added. In recent days, Malaysia had deployed helicopters, a plane, boats, divers and jet skiers to hunt over a large area.

Grodem earlier told officials the group surfaced about an hour into their dive on Wednesday but could not find their boat. She was later separated from the others after being caught in strong currents.

Authorities did not give details on how the rescued trio survived a long period drifting at sea, and said they have not yet been questioned in detail about their ordeal.

Previously, officials had expressed hope the divers would be found alive as they had substantial experience and were well equipped, including with a diving buoy.

They also said that light rains in recent days might help the divers survive by providing drinking water.

The boat operator who took them to the dive site was detained after testing positive for drugs, police said.

JOHOR SULTAN ORDERS TEMPORARY STOP TO DIVING IN MERSING

Following the incident, Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar on Thursday ordered a temporary stop to all diving activities in Mersing.

“I want all diving activities to be stopped temporarily until we can ascertain what actually happened to them (missing divers). Diving activities cannot continue if there are doubts about safety levels," he said in a Facebook post.

“Current diving activity regulations must also be thoroughly reviewed before they are allowed to operate again."

He added that decisions made from the review must be announced to restore public confidence.

Source: Agencies/lk

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