Coast Guard suspends active search for Kona woman off Big Island of Hawaii

Galveston IslandHONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the search late Wednesday for missing 33-year-old Amber Savant of Kona presumed swept out to sea while free diving near Kapoho Bay, Big Island.

“To suspend an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult decisions to make,” said Cmdr. Arex Avanni, deputy commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We saturated the area in an attempt to locate Ms. Savant, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search. Our prayers go out to her loved ones.”

On-scene assets searched approximately 4,516 square miles and deployed three self-locating datum marker buoys.

Involved in the search were an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the crews of the Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake and Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island. Hawaii County Fire Department jet ski and helicopter crews searched as well as a Navy MH-60 helicopter crew from the 37th Helicopter Squadron out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

On-scene crews recovered a spear-gun, fins, gloves, snorkel, mask, weight belt with knife and five pounds of dive weights from Kapoho Bay during the search effort. All were identified as belonging to Savant.

Watchstanders at the Sector received a report at 2:52 p.m., Sunday, alerting them to the situation. They immediately launched the Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of any mariners in the area.

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