Search launched for three European divers missing off the Malaysian island

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Malaysian authorities are looking for three European nationals who disappeared while diving off a southern island.

A 46-year-old Briton, his 14-year-old Dutch son and an 18-year-old Frenchwoman are missing.

Malaysian authorities rescued their Norwegian dive instructor earlier on Thursday after the search was launched.

The group had dived on Wednesday afternoon on an island off the town of Mersing in the southern state of Johor, a region popular with tourists. An alert was raised after the four divers failed to surface after an hour.

Kristine Grodem, a 35-year-old licensed dive instructor, was picked up by a passing boat about 40 kilometers from the dive site and was airlifted to a hospital, officials said.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Johor director said Grodem was found safe with full scuba gear and was in stable condition with no serious injuries.

She had trained the other divers to help them get official licenses, the official added.

The search for the three missing Europeans was suspended on Wednesday evening due to poor visibility but is expected to resume on Friday.

District Police Chief Cyril Edward Nuing said Grodem told investigators the group surfaced after about 40 minutes and began a second dive.

The group then reportedly surfaced due to rough water conditions, but were unable to get the boat’s attention after drifting in strong currents.

“Based on his story, the other three managed to surface,” Nuing said.

“With their equipment, full gear and experience, we believe there is a good chance of finding them alive.”

Johor Police Chief Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the captain of the dive boat tested positive for drugs and was arrested for further investigation.

Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has suspended all diving activities off Mersing pending an investigation into the incident.

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