Search for Missing Snorkeler Off Molokini Continues
By Wendy Osher
New details have surfaced as the search continues for a man reported missing on Tuesday in waters off of Molokini Island.
Coast Guard officials have since identified the missing snorkeler as 56-year-old Paul Blackburn of Illinois.
According to authorities, the man was snorkeling near the Molokini Crater with his son when he went missing at around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.
Coast Guard officials say today’s search included a 45-foot Response Boat Medium crew from the agency’s station on Maui, the County Department of Fire and Public Safety’s Air-1 helicopter and fireboat, as well as personnel from the Ocean Safety and Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission.
The Coast Guard’s Cutter Ahi and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point are scheduled to continue searching the area throughout the night, according to updated information provided by the agency.
Officials from the US Coast Guard say Blackburn was last seen wearing a white rash guard and board shorts, and was not wearing a lifejacket.
The agency launched a search upon receiving a report at 5:51 p.m. on Tuesday from the Gauguin sailing vessel.
A 45-foot Response Boat Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Maui was diverted from a training mission to begin the search, according to authorities with the US Coast Guard.
The agency’s Dolphin helicopter crew reportedly assisted in the search until sunset Tuesday; while an agency Cutter joined the search on Tuesday night, authorities said.
Mariners are being asked to keep an eye out for the missing man and report any sightings to the Coast Guard by contacting the agency via VHF marine radio channel 16, or by calling the command center at (808) 842-2600.
The Molokini islet is a popular snorkeling destination for visitors and tourists, and is located Alalakeiki Channel between the islands of Maui and Kahoʻolawe.
***Supporting information courtesy US Coast Guard.