Search For Possible Missing Diver Launched After Float Adrift Near Lānaʻi
By Maui Now Staff
The Coast Guard is searching for the user of a dive float reported adrift on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in the ʻAuʻAu Channel between Lānaʻi and Maui.
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point is currently searching the area for any signs of divers or distress.
Sector Honolulu Command Center watchstanders received a report from a good samaritan of the red and white dive flag and float with four-feet of line attached to it, approximately 2 miles east of Club Lānaʻi in the ʻAuʻAu Channel at around 10:35 a.m.
The watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and diverted a Dolphin helicopter crew from another mission to conduct a search of the area.
Authorities from the Coast Guard say no boats or signs of distress have been sighted in the area.
“Our primary concern is the safety of people on and around the water, especially with storm surge, high surf and swells from approaching Tropical Storm Guillermo,” said Charles Turner, the command duty officer at Sector Honolulu in an agency press release statement. “Anyone with information about the float is asked to call the command center at (808) 842-2600.”
The Coast Guard advises all waterways users to label gear with names and phone numbers to allow crews to quickly identify the owner and contact them if their gear is found. This also allows Coast Guard crews to create appropriate search areas, return lost equipment, and determine if anyone is in distress or if the gear was simply washed out to sea accidentally before searching for someone who may not be in distress.
“We take reports of unmanned adrift gear, unmanned adrift vessels, and flare sightings very seriously and deploy search and rescue assets quickly,” said Turner. “We don’t want to risk losing someone at sea because we didn’t respond, but if we can call a number found on the equipment or vessel and reach the owner, we have a much better idea of what we are dealing with.”
Additionally, mariners and watersports enthusiasts are advised to secure all small items and lightweight vessels to prevent them from becoming projectiles in high winds or being washed out to sea by storms.