European Diver Found Alive While 3 Remain Missing After Mersing Diving Trip Went Wrong
A 35-year-old Norwegian tourist was rescued today, 7 April, after she and three other European tourists went missing while diving off the coast of Mersing, Johor
The Norwegian, Kristine Grodem, who is believed to be a diving instructor, was spotted at around 8.15am by a cargo vessel, which was travelling from Indonesia to Thailand.
It's unclear what the exact condition of the victim is, but photos show her looking fatigued and walking with rescue personnel to a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) aircraft, which airlifted her to Mersing Stadium before she was transferred to a hospital for treatment.
The search and rescue (SAR) operation is now ongoing for British man Adrian Peter, 46; his son Nathan Renze, 14, who is a Dutch citizen; and French woman Alexia Alexandra, 18.
The operation, covering 107 nautical miles (198km), began at 2.45pm yesterday, 6 April, but was halted at 7.30pm last night due to poor visibility
Johor Maritime director First Maritime Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the search was conducted under rough weather, with wind speeds of between 10km/h and 20km/h and waves of between 0.5m and one metre, reported Bernama.
90 rescuers, 18 boats, and two helicopters were deployed for the SAR operation led by the MMEA, which also involves the fisheries department, the police, the fire department, the coastguard, as well as the Mersing district office, according to Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi's Facebook post.
According to him, the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is also lending two diving boats to aid in the search.
The four tourists were reportedly in the middle of a diving training at noon on Wednesday when they went missing while underwater
Nurul Hizam said that all four divers had actually surfaced from their dive at around 12.45pm, but they drifted apart due to the strong currents.
Based on an account by Grodem, he explained that she tried to scream, whistle, and wave to get the attention of their boat operator, but the divers had drifted too far away before being separated from each other, reported CNA.
The boat skipper lodged a missing report when he realised the divers did not resurface from their diving spot.At 2.45pm, boats from the coastguard, the police, and the fisheries department set out to search for the missing tourists.
Pulau Tokong Sanggol, the island from which the group went missing, is around nine nautical miles (16.6km) from Tanjung Leman in Mersing.
Authorities believe there was still a "very good chance" of locating the other three divers alive because they had surfaced from their initial dive
Mersing police commanding officer Supt Cyril Edward Nuing told reporters at the press conference that this means the divers still had their diving vests and fins with them.
"Based on what has been recounted by (Grodem), the remaining three divers had successfully surfaced," Cyril was quoted as saying by CNA.
"So with the equipment that was on them and based on their diving experience, the chances of finding them alive now is very big."