British diver found in Malaysia but says teenage son died 'because he was too weak'

Indonesian authorities continue to search for the body of Nathen Chesters, but the search operation in Malaysia has been called off. Credit: AP

A British man who disappeared during a dive last week has been rescued by fisherman, along with a French teenager, but the man's 14-year-old Dutch son is believed to have died.

Adrian Chesters, 46, and 18-year-old Alexia Molina were found early on Saturday in waters near Indonesia's border and have been taken to a hospital, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said.

The two were in stable condition, police told local media.

But Mr Chesters told police that his 14-year-old son Nathen Chesters had died because he was too weak, the agency said in a statement.

His body has not yet been recovered and Indonesian authorities continue to search for the body, but the search operation in Malaysia has been called off.Mr Chesters and Ms Molina were found 16 nautical miles (30 kilometres) north of Indonesia’s Bintan Island, which is about 70 nautical miles (100 kilometres) 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, on Wednesday in waters about 15 metres deep at an island off Mersing town in southern Johor state.

Grodem, 35, was rescued on Thursday by a tugboat. She said the four of them surfaced safely on Wednesday afternoon but later drifted away from the boat and were separated by a strong current.

Grodem was providing 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 have been suspended. There are several islands off the town that are popular dive spots for local residents and tourists.

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