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A 14-year-old Dutch boy who disappeared during a dive off Malaysia on Wednesday after being “abandoned” by his methamphetamine-taking captain drowned before rescuers could reach him, his heartbroken British father has revealed.
Nathen Renze Chesters was swept out to sea along with his father, shell engineer Adrian Peter Chesters, 46, France’s Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, and their Norwegian instructor Kristine Grodem, 35.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency revealed today that Mr Chesters told them his son was too weak to stay afloat and drowned.
The agency has asked Indonesian authorities to continue searching for the body while the rescue mission in Malaysia is cancelled.
The group of four had been in water about 50 feet deep on an island off the city of Mersing in the southern state of Johor.
Mr. Chesters and Ms. Molina were found by rescuers and fishermen early Saturday morning in waters near the Indonesian border and taken to a hospital, where they are reported to be in stable condition.
They were found 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island, which is about 70 nautical miles (100 kilometers) from where they were reported missing on Wednesday, according to Mersing Police Chief Cyril Edward. Nuing.
Ms Grodem was first rescued by a tugboat on Thursday.
She comes after the captain of the ship carrying the group was detained for further investigation on Thursday over fears he may have abandoned them at sea after testing positive for methamphetamine.
Police said they would assess the diving equipment and location, adding that the captain is being investigated under Section 15(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
He is also being investigated for negligence.
Instructor Ms. Grodem, 35, was rescued on Thursday by a tugboat.
She said the four surfaced safely on Wednesday afternoon, but then moved away from the boat and were separated by a strong current.
The search has moved south, where the two divers were found, Mersing maritime chief Khairul Nizam Misran said.
Two planes, nine boats and about 85 people, as well as fishermen, are involved in the expanded search, he said.
The ship’s skipper was detained for further investigation and diving activities off Mersing were suspended.
Ms Grodem was providing training to the other three, who were seeking advanced diving licences, maritime officials said.
Local officials had suggested they were confident they would find the three missing people because they were “experienced divers”.
Chesters, who is from Sheffield, had just moved his family to the tourist hotspot after working as a senior engineer behind Shell’s successful Appomattox platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
District police chief Cyril Edward Nuing said on Thursday: “According to his [de Grodem’s] account, the other three managed to surface.
“With his team, his entire team and his experience, we think there’s a very good chance of finding them alive.”
It comes after the ship’s captain was detained for further investigation after being arrested for testing positive for drugs.
Johor Police Chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said officers arrested the man at 11:30 p.m. Thursday after he gave a statement to the Mersing District Police.
Mr Mamat said: ‘He tested positive for methamphetamine use when we ran a urine test.
The forensic team will arrive to conduct the investigation. We will also investigate if there are any negligence issues.
The area from which the group initially disappeared is popular with divers and tourists, with dozens of resorts dotted around the coastal area.
Diving accidents, although rare, do occasionally occur in Malaysia.
In 2013, a British tourist was killed when she was struck by the propeller of a passing ship while snorkeling off resort islands in the South China Sea.
The tropical Southeast Asian nation’s white-sand beaches and lush rainforests have long made it a major draw, but the tourism industry has been hit hard by travel restrictions during Covid.
Malaysia’s borders reopened to foreigners on April 1 after being closed for more than two years during the pandemic.
Kristine Grodem Quick and Facts
- Adrian Peter Chesters and Alexia Alexandra Molina were found early Saturday
- Mr Chester’s son, Nathen Renze Chesters, aged 14, is believed to have drowned
- Trio were diving with Norwegian instructor Kristine Grodem off Mersing town