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Rescued British diver says his son died at sea

MERSING (CNA) – 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, 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, about 100 kilometres 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 as the teenager 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.

A member of the Royal Malaysia police displays a picture of Adrian Peter Chesters, one of the divers found alive. PHOTO: AFP

Malaysian assets would be on standby to help, he added. Malaysia has deployed helicopters, a plane, boats, divers and jet skiers to search 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 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. 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.