American diver missing off Malaysia

AFP Asian Edition

May 24, 2009 20:00 EDT

An American diver has gone missing off Malaysia's east coast after the yacht he was sailing in was hit by an unknown vessel, a maritime official said.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency official Syed Noradli Syed Abdul Rahman said a search operation was being carried out by the Malaysian navy and marine police for 63-year-old Kenneth Wayne.

Wayne had been travelling with his friend James Edward, 27, on a yacht from the Thai resort island of Phuket for a diving trip to the Malaysian islands of Langkawi and Tioman, and to Singapore, he said.

"Our information shows the yacht arrived in Malaysian waters early Sunday morning because the American diver wanted to take underwater pictures in the waters off Kuantan," Syed Noradli told AFP.

"An unknown vessel then hit the yacht and sped off and the yacht capsized."

Local fishermen rescued Edward and the vessel's three crew members several hours after the collision but Wayne was still missing, police said, according to state media.

Syed Noradli said Edward and the ship's cook, Thai national Butsara Tantaksuwan, were badly injured in the incident while the ship's captain and another crew member suffered minor injuries.

Source: AFP Asian Edition