The dive instructor was found alive — but she had drifted away from her students.
A British oil executive, his teenage son and another teen girl are all missing at sea after they resurfaced from a dive — and their boat was gone.
A massive search is underway off the coast of Malaysia for 46-year-old Shell engineer Adrian Chesters, his 14-year-old son Nathan, and 18-year-old French national Alexia Alexandra Molina, who police say were abandoned by their boat captain in the middle of the ocean.
The trio were under the instruction of 35-year-old Norwegian dive master Kristine Grodem, who was training them for their advanced dive licenses off the tiny island of Pulau Tokong Sanggol, 10 miles out from the mainland.
The alarm was raised on Wednesday when the boat returned to port without them; the captain told police that they had failed to resurface an hour after diving into the 49ft-deep waters.
A search party involving two planes, 18 boats and almost 100 personnel — including rescue divers — were immediately deployed to find the missing foursome, but had to turn back due to poor visibility.
Then, at 11:30 PM that night, the boat captain was arrested after a urine sample tested positive for methamphetamine, Metro reported.
The search resumed early Thursday morning — and miraculously a tugboat managed to locate the instructor Grodem, alive, some 30 nautical miles from where they had been diving. But she was alone.
“The instructor tried to keep all of them together but they got separated,” Mersing police chief Superintendent Cyril Edward Nuing said.
Grodem, who was found “floating and fully equipped”, was airlifted to hospital, and described as in stable condition.
She told rescuers her students had surfaced, but the strong currents had separated them.
Searchers are still holding out hope the remaining trio survived.
“With their equipment, their full gear and their experience, we believe there is a strong chance of finding them alive,” Nuing said, per BBC.
Chester had only recently moved his family to the country, having worked on a Shell rig in the Gulf of Mexico; Malaysia just opened its borders to foreigners on April 1, after a two year Covid lockdown.