SINGAPORE - He seldom swam and it was his first time diving.
On Monday, Dr Lee Yong Yeow's 75-yearold mother said she regretted not stopping him from going on the diving trip that claimed his life.
"He was filial. From young, he was always wellbehaved," she said in Mandarin, tears welling up.
Her son, 35, a researcher with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) died on Saturday in the waters off Pulau Tioman island in Malaysia.
Malaysian papers identified the location as Pantai Air Batang.
His instructor, Mr Tan Seah Heng, 48, also drowned.
Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Zainul Mujahidin Mat Yudin, the deputy police chief of Rompin, Pahang, said the incident took place around noon as Dr Lee and his wife were with their instructor practising their diving skills about 25m from the beach, the New Straits Times reported.
Dr Lee's wife suddenly realised the two men were having some difficulties before she surfaced and screamed for help.
Though some people managed to bring the victims to the beach and tried giving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), it was too late, ASP Zainul Mujahidin reportedly said, adding the case has been classified as sudden death.
The owner of dive centre Ray's Dive Adventure, from which the pair had each rented a tank on Friday, said Mr Tan was a freelance instructor who often brought students to Tioman.