Coast Guard suspends search for missing freediver off Hawaii Island

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the active search Monday for a missing 46-year-old man last seen south of Honokohau Harbor.

“A total of 29 searches were conducted covering 658 square miles totaling 29.34 hours of active searching,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James Shaw, a search and rescue planner at Sector Honolulu. “It is always a difficult decision to make, but we have suspended the search this afternoon pending any new information.”

At 11:57 a.m., Saturday, Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the Hawaii County Fire Department stating they received a report that the freediver was seen being swept offshore due to a wave surge.

The freediver was last seen picking Opihi approximately a quarter nautical-mile south of Honokohau Harbor, Hawaii Island.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and launched multiple Coast Guard assets in response.

Involved in the search were:

  • An Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew
  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126)
  • Hawaii County Fire Department ground crews
  • Hawaii County Fire Department dive teams
  • Hawaii County Fire Department Air 1 and Air 2 helicopter crews

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