Maui News

Update: Maui Fire Department Suspends Search for Missing Snorkeler in Mākena

December 17, 2021, 7:14 PM HST
* Updated December 20, 5:52 AM
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Coast Guard Search by land and sea off of Mākena, Maui. (Dec. 14, 2021) VC: Dina Ruiz

After three full days of searching, the Maui Fire Department and Coast Guard suspended their searches for a missing snorkeler who was last seen on Tuesday afternoon in waters off of Mākena in South Maui.

Both agencies say the search is suspended indefinitely, but will resume if more information develops.

“With multiple agencies involved in the search, we covered 537 square miles over the course of 75 hours and conducted 29 total searches,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Soren Johansson, a Sector Honolulu watchstander.  “During that time Coast Guard members from Coast Guard Station Maui were able to locate some of the missing man’s snorkeling gear adrift in the water.  Though it is a difficult decision to make, we suspended the search after sunset last night pending any new information,” Johansson said on Saturday.

The 62-year-old man from Wisconsin was reported missing by a family member who reported that he was overdue. The man was last seen rounding the point on the South end of “Chang’s Beach” off the Mākena Surf Resort at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

He was last seen wearing black shorts, no top, green and black fins, with a full-face snorkel mask. He is described as being 6-foot 2-inches and weighing between 195 to 215 pounds. 

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Fire officials say the department focused on reinforcing search areas from previous days; but efforts were limited to surface and air searches due to the presence of a large shark that was spotted by Air 1.

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US Coast Guard search efforts expanded north and south of the previous efforts. The US Coast Guard also searched the northwest and southeast shorelines of Kahoʻolawe.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

The Coast Guard lent a ship from Oʻahu to assist in the search for the man missing off “Chang’s Beach.” PC: by Robert Raimo (12.16.21)

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