British national Richard Wills said he received a call from Norwegian diving coach Kristine Grodem, who was rescued on Thursday. — Picture via Twitter/Bernama
PASIR GUDANG, April 9 — An unexpected voice call from Kristine Grodem, one of four missing foreign divers off the Mersing coast, using the Facebook application on Thursday morning, has provided much-needed relief to her worried friend, a British national, Richard Wills.
Wills, 29, said he received a call from Norwegian diving coach Grodem, 35, at about 9.16am, a day after Grodem and three other divers – British national Adrian Peter, 46, his 14-year-old son Nathen Renze who is a Dutch national and French woman Alexia Alexandra, 18, — were reported missing.
“I was driving to Mersing at the time and I slammed the break so hard when I saw her name on my phone. Just imagine this, when your dear friend went missing, suddenly her name appeared on your mobile phone screen, calling you.
“I was at an area where the phone signal was bad so I was driving around trying to get better signals. As I picked up her call, I was in tears, very relieved and grateful that Kristine (Grodem) called me. I was never this happy when someone called me before,” he told reporters after visiting Peter Chesters and Alexandra Molina in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a private hospital here today.
Wills, a resort manager on Sibu Besar Island, who speaks Malay, said Grodem contacted him on Thursday by borrowing the mobile phone of one of the tugboat crew members who found her in the waters of Tanjung Sedili, Kota Tinggi, about 30 nautical miles from the scene.
He said after Grodem’s call ended, he immediately contacted the authorities for help.
“I have been involved with the tourism industry here for more than five years and this has never happened. I am relieved that three divers have been found safe and recovering. They suffer some bruises, sunburn and mild hyperthermia but are recovering well,” said Wills, adding that four divers stayed at his resort before they went diving at Tokong Sanggol Island.
Chesters and Molina were found safe in southern Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, at about 1am today, while Grodem was found safe floating, equipped with clothing and diving equipment, by a tugboat en route from Indonesia to Thailand at 8.15am on Thursday.
The search and rescue operation to locate another diver, Nathen was called off at 1.30pm today following the victim’s position was believed to be in Indonesian waters.
In the incident at noon on Wednesday (April 6), four foreign divers were reported missing while diving in the waters of Pulau Tokong Sanggol, about nine nautical miles from Tanjung Leman, Mersing. — Bernama