Lifeguards are searching for a British father and son off the coast of Malaysia after the couple went missing on Wednesday during a group training dive.
Adrian Chesters, 46, and his 14-year-old son Nathen were diving off Mersing in the southern state of Johor. Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, from France, is also missing.
Police said Thursday they still believe the divers will be found. District Chief Cyril Edward Nuing said: “With their equipment, full gear and experience, we believe there is a good chance of finding them alive.”
Diving has since been suspended off Mersing, with the captain of the boat being detained by police as part of the investigation.
Dive instructor Kristine Grodem, 35, who was coaching the group for their advanced licenses, was found safe after being separated from the group.
An hour into the dive, alarms went off after the group failed to surface. According to maritime officials, Grodem was rescued by a tug before being airlifted off the scene. Grodem told police the other three managed to surface.
The search resumed Thursday morning after being called off late Wednesday due to poor visibility. The rescue effort included two planes, 18 boats and nearly 90 people, including rescue divers.
“We cannot allow diving to continue if safety measures are compromised,” said Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar.
Malaysia reopened its borders to foreigners on April 1 after they were closed for more than two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia’s immigration department said more than 55,000 foreigners entered the country in the first four days since the border opened.