Coast Guard suspends search for missing diver off Big Island

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the search Tuesday morning for a diver who was reported missing by a good Samaritan off Pahoehoe Beach, Big Island.

No missing persons or reports of distress have been reported in the area.

On-scene assets conducted a total of nine searches covering 175 square miles.

Involved in the search were:
– MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu.
– Crews of Coast Guard Cutter Kiska from Hilo, Big Island.
– A helicopter, rescue boat and ground crews from Hawaii County Fire Department.

The initial call was made Monday at 2:11 p.m., to the Hawaii County Fire Department who relayed the report to watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Sector Honolulu command center and Coast Guard crews were dispatched to begin their search.

The good Samaritan said the man was caucasian, looked to be in his early 20s, about 150 pounds with red hair. He is reportedly wearing blue board shorts and a white rash guard with blue lettering. The man was last seen at 12:40 p.m. leaving the beach to swim out to the farthest rocks with fins, a mask, diving gear and a back up regulator.

The good Samaritan watched since the diver was going out alone, did not have a float or any safety gear and noticed, based on experience, the diver only had enough air for a maximum of 80 minutes. After two hours, the good Samaritan reported the diver overdue to Hawaii Fire Department.

Weather conditions were initially reported as 10 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 6 miles of visibility.

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