Coast Guard, Hawaii County Fire Department continue to search for missing free diver near Big Island

AhiHONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department continue searching for a missing 55-year-old free diver off the Big Island of Hawaii, Friday.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi is currently on scene searching. Hawaii County Fire Department dive teams, rescue boat and helicopter crews are also on scene searching.

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.

On-scene assets have completed 14 sorties and searched a total of 1,303 square miles.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a report at 2:40 a.m. Thursday from two friends reporting the diver missing. They were diving with Loren “Jamie” Salis and last saw him at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday wearing a black wetsuit in the vicinity of North Kohala, Big Island, at the end of Old Coast Guard Road. The watchstanders immediately issued the UMIB launched the Dolphin crew and dispatched the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi crew.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and located a submerged dive light, but it was undetermined if the diver was in the area of the light when it was sighted. Hawaii County Fire Department divers have since recovered the light and a fishing spear, but the diver remains missing.

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

Weather conditions are currently reported as east winds at 20 mph with seas up to 10-feet and good visibility. The disappearance of the diver does not appear to be connected to Wednesday night’s tsunami advisory as his disappearance took place several hours prior to the forecasted arrival of any earthquake generated waves or currents.

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