FOUND: Search for Possible Missing Diver Near Molokaʻi
By Wendy Osher
(Update: 6:05 p.m. 3/20/14)
The owner of an orange dive flag and buoy found Wednesday, has since been located safe ashore on Molokaʻi, according to the US Coast Guard.
Officials say the diver was never in distress and stated that he and his son had lost the buoy while diving near Lahaina, Maui on Sunday.
A search was launched on Wednesday after a tug boat located the unattended equipment about five miles offshore of Molokaʻi.
(Original post: 11:33 a.m. 3/20/14)
The Coast Guard is conducting a search this morning for a possible missing diver in waters several miles south of the Molokaʻi Airport.
The incident was reported by crews aboard the American Contender tug boat who noticed an orange dive flag and buoy with a taut line approximately five miles offshore of Molokaʻi, according to information released by the US Coast Guard. The tug crew noted that no one appeared to be in distress in the immediate area.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search for anyone in distress.
According to the US Coast Guard, the helicopter crew recovered the dive buoy and discovered it was marked with a few stickers and the initials ‘Lt’ handwritten with a white paint pen, along with a bag of seashells that was attached to the buoy.
Mariners are being asked to keep an eye out for anyone possibly in distress, and to call the Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600 if they have information that may help to identify the owner of the dive float.
Coast Guard officials also took the opportunity to remind divers, boaters, and the general public to label all watercraft and equipment with contact information. The agency offers free Paddle Smart weather-proof stickers that can be applied to vessels that includes the owners name, address, and phone number.
Agency officials say this enables the Coast Guard and other supporting agencies to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.
The stickers can be obtained for free of charge at local harbormasters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.