Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dutch teen dies in Malaysia diving accident



Dutch teen dies in Malaysia diving accident

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Royal Malaysia police officer displays a picture of British national Adrian Peter Chesters, one of two divers found alive along with French national Alexia Alexandra Molina at a press conference in Mersing on Saturday. AFP

Dutch teen dies in Malaysia diving accident

A Dutch teenager was killed when a group he was diving with off Malaysia’s coast went missing, officials said on Saturday following the dramatic rescue of his father and two others.

The three Europeans and their instructor got into trouble on Wednesday after they surfaced from a dive near a southern island but could not find their boat.

A British man, 46-year-old Adrian Chesters, and Frenchwoman Alexia Molina, 18, were discovered by fishermen in the waters of neighbouring Indonesia, picked up by marine police and taken back to Malaysia.

But Chesters told officials that his son, 14-year-old Nathen, who holds Dutch citizenship, had died.

The teen, “as a result of being too weak . . . was unable to survive”, a coastguard statement said, citing the father.

Police earlier said the search for the boy had been called off after they concluded he had floated into Indonesian waters, and they had informed their counterparts in the archipelago nation.

In recent days, Malaysia had deployed helicopters, a plane, boats, divers and jet skiers to hunt over a large area.

The instructor, Norwegian woman Kristine Grodem, had already been rescued on Thursday in waters off southern Malaysia.

The other two survivors were found about 30km north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island – having drifted some 130km from where they had been diving.

The pair were admitted to a Malaysian hospital in a stable condition, said local police chief Cyril Edward Nuing in the coastal town of Mersing, the base for search operations.

Authorities did not give details on how the rescued trio survived a long period drifting at sea, and said they had 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 light rains in recent days might have helped the divers survive by providing drinking water.

On Thursday, the French teen’s mother Esther Molina told AFP from Mersing that the family were “hoping for the best. She’s a strong girl, she’ll kick ass.”

Grodem had been instructing the divers close to a small island, Tokong Sanggol, about 15km off Malaysia’s southeast coast, when the accident happened.

After a dive lasting about 40 minutes, they surfaced but could not find their boat. They drifted together in strong currents, but ended up getting separated.

The captain of the boat who took them to the dive site has been arrested after testing positive for drugs.

The area where the accident happened is popular with foreign and domestic visitors – resorts dot the coast and the islands.

Diving accidents, while rare, do occasionally happen in Malaysia.

In 2013, a British tourist died when she was struck by a passing boat’s propeller while diving off resort islands in the South China Sea.

The tropical Southeast Asian nation’s borders reopened to foreign tourists on April 1 after a two-year coronavirus closure, and thousands of visitors have arrived.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement