Norwegian diver rescued off Malaysian island, two Britons and Frenchwoman still missing

Group of four went missing during diving training exercise off Pulau Tokong Sanggol island

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 07 April 2022 13:25
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<p>The search began immediately after divers were reported missing on Wednesday and was halted during the night due to visibility concerns before resuming on Thursday morning</p>

The search began immediately after divers were reported missing on Wednesday and was halted during the night due to visibility concerns before resuming on Thursday morning

A Norwegian woman who went missing nine miles off a Malaysian island during a diving training has been rescued. Three other divers, including two Britons and a Frenchwoman, are still missing.

The diver rescued on Thursday was identified as Kristine Grodem, 35. The other Europeans were identified by authorities as Frenchwoman Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, Briton Adrian Peter Chesters, 46, and his son Nathen Renze Chesters, 14.

They went missing during a diving training exercise off Pulau Tokong Sanggol, near the coastal town of Mersing in the country’s southeast, on Wednesday afternoon. Pulau Tokong Sanggol is a small island about 15km from the southern state of Johor.

Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency swiftly launched a search and rescue operation in a bid to locate the group but it had to be halted during the night due to visibility, before it was picked up again on Thursday morning.

Ms Grodem was airlifted to safety on Thursday morning after being found by a tugboat about 22 nautical miles from the group’s last reported location, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency’s Johor director Nurul Hizam Zakaria told reporters.

She told authorities that she lost sight of the other divers after the group drifted far from their boat due to strong underwater currents.

Malaysian authorities, however, said they were optimistic about finding the others, as they all had fully-functioning diving equipment and had surfaced before they had disappeared.

“We hope to find the other victims as soon as possible,” Mr Zakaria said.

Authorities in neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia as well as ships passing by the area have been notified to keep a lookout, he added.

The waters off Johor are part of one of the busiest shipping lanes in Southeast Asia and are popular with foreign and domestic tourists due to its resorts dotted along the coast and nearby islands, renowned for diving.

The divers’ disappearance came just days after Malaysia reopened its borders on 1 April after more than two years of coronavirus pandemic-related closure.

More than 55,000 foreigners entered Malaysia in the first four days since its reopening, according to the immigration department.

Although such incidents are rare in Malaysia, last year the body of 31-year-old Karen Chong was found by local fishermen days after she went on a diving trip near the island of Pulau Satang.

Additional reporting by agencies

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