Rescue crews continue to search for missing snorkeler off Kaanapali, Maui

HONOLULU – The U.S. Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department continue to coordinate search efforts for Bryce Essler, a 20-year-old Canadian man last seen Thursday afternoon snorkeling off the coast of Kaanapali on Maui. Search patterns have been planned for Coast Guard assets through the rest of the day and into the night.

On scene today, were crew members aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and C-130 long range search plane — both from Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu — and an 11-person crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, an 87-foot patrol boat, and a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Station Maui.

Essler is on vacation and was reported missing at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday. He was last seen 100 yards from shore.

“We’ve been searching continuously since Thursday afternoon,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Matt Couling, a search and rescue coordinator in the Coast Guard’s 24 hour operations center in Honolulu Harbor. “We will continue coordinating closely with the Maui Fire Department — their expert knowledge of the area is a critical factor as we plan our searches. Our hearts and thoughts are with Mr. Essler’s family members right now and the Coast Guard would like them to know we are saturating the area with as many search assets as possible.”

Rescue crews reported the weather on scene today to be seas of one to two feet, and winds from the east-northeast at 11 to 17 mph.

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