2 European divers rescued in Indonesia, Dutch teenager dead

This photo released by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Friday, April 8, 2022, shows search and rescue operation for foreign divers off the coast of Johor's Mersing, Malaysia. Two Europeans who disappeared during a dive last week have been rescued by fishermen, Malaysian authorities said Saturday, with the search operation now focused on finding a 14-year-old Dutch teen who remained missing. (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency via AP ) (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

KUALA LUMPUR – Two European divers were rescued by fishermen on Saturday but a third, a 14-year-old Dutch, had died, four days after they disappeared off a southern Malaysian island and drifted some 70 nautical miles (100 kilometers), authorities said.

Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, of France and Adrian Peter Chesters, 46, of Britain were found early Saturday in neighboring Indonesian waters and taken to a hospital, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said.

Chesters' Dutch son, Nathen Renze Chesters, remained missing but Chesters told police that he had died because he was too weak, the agency said in a statement.

The agency said it notified Indonesian authorities to continue searching for the body. The search operation in Malaysia has been called off.

Molina and Chesters were found 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island, which is about 70 nautical miles (100 kilometers) from the location they were reported missing on Wednesday, according to Mersing police chief Cyril Edward Nuing.

The three were diving with their Norwegian instructor, Kristine Grodem, about 15 meters (50 feet) deep at an island off Mersing town in Malaysia's southern Johor state. Grodem, 35, was rescued Thursday by a tugboat. She said the four of them surfaced safely Wednesday afternoon but later drifted away from the boat and were separated by a strong current.

Grodem was training for the other three, who were seeking to obtain advanced diving licenses, maritime officials said.

The boat skipper was detained for further investigation, and diving activities off Mersing were suspended. There are several islands off the town that are popular dive spots.

Malaysia’s borders reopened to foreigners on April 1 after being closed for more than two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.