Coast Guard, fire department searching for missing free diver near Molokai

KittiwakeHONOLULU — Personnel from the Coast Guard and Molokai Fire Department are searching for a missing free diver offshore Papohaku Beach, Molokai, Sunday.

Missing is 25-year-old Steven Likua.

Likua was last seen swimming offshore at 3 p.m. Saturday wearing a full body camouflage wetsuit with fins, mask and snorkel.

Anyone with information that may help locate the diver is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake are on scene searching. Molokai Fire Department searched with ground rescue units until late evening and established an incident command post at Papohaku Beach Park.

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.

Watchstanders at the sector received a report at 6:21 p.m. Saturday, from Maui Dispatch reporting Likua missing. The watchstanders immediately issued the UMIB, launched the Dolphin crew and dispatched the Kittiwake crew.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and deployed one self-locating datum marker buoy. Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu Command Center use data gathered from the SLDMBs as well as the search and rescue optimal planning system to calculate the search area. SAROPS is a software system that uses simulated particles generated by users in a graphical interface. These particles are then influenced by environmental data to provide information on search object drift. Using information on a point of origin and local currents, it calculates the most likely area to find a person or object in the water.

Weather conditions are currently reported as northeast winds at 23 mph with seas up to 8 feet and 2 miles of visibility.

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