UPDATE: Body of Missing Free Diver Recovered near Molokai

December 20, 2015, 12:57 AM HST · Updated December 20, 3:54 PM
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UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. 12/20/15

On Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at around 6:17 p.m., police and fire were dispatched to the Kaluakoi area near the vicinity of Kaiaka Rock for a report of a missing diver.

Police say Steven “Keku” Likua, 26, of Molokai, entered the water at around 3 p.m. to meet up with other divers. He was last seen at around 4 p.m., approximately 300 yards off shore wearing a camouflage wet suit. When the other divers emerged, police say Likua did not.

Police say the Coast Guard was notified after a search of the shoreline was conducted and Likua could not be found. Police and fire personnel continued searching for Likua on Sunday morning, Dec. 20, 2015.

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On Sunday, at around 10:25 a.m., police say Likua’s body was located off Kaiaka Point, and was transported to the Molokai General Hospital.

The case was initially classified as a missing persons incident, but has since been reclassified as a fatal miscellaneous accident. His cause of death is pending autopsy reports.

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UPDATE: 12 p.m. 12/20/15

The body of a Molokai diver, reported missing at 6:18 p.m. Saturday evening, has been recovered.

After an extensive shoreline search for the diver did not turn up anything, firefighters suspended the search Saturday night at around 9:30 p.m. Emergency crews, friends, and volunteers resumed the search of the ocean and shoreline areas again at first light Sunday morning.

At around 10:30 a.m. this morning, search parties recovered the victim in waters off of Kaluakoi.

The Maui Fire Department thanked the Coast Guard and the many friends and volunteers that came out to assist in the search.

The Maui Fire Department extended condolences to the friends and family of the victim.

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Original Post: 12/19/15

Personnel from the Coast Guard and Molokai Fire Department are searching for a missing free diver offshore Papohaku Beach, Molokai, Sunday.

Missing is 25-year-old Steven Likua.

Likua was last seen swimming offshore at 3 p.m. Saturday wearing a full body camouflage wetsuit with fins, mask and snorkel.

Anyone with information that may help locate the diver is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point and USCGC Kittiwake are on scene searching. Molokai Fire Department searched with ground rescue units until late evening and established an incident command post at Papohaku Beach Park.

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.

Watchstanders at the sector received a report at 6:21 p.m. Saturday, from Maui Dispatch reporting Likua missing. The watchstanders immediately issued the UMIB, launched the Dolphin crew and dispatched the Kittiwake crew.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and deployed one self-locating datum marker buoy. Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu Command Center use data gathered from the SLDMBs as well as the search and rescue optimal planning system to calculate the search area. SAROPS is a software system that uses simulated particles generated by users in a graphical interface. These particles are then influenced by environmental data to provide information on search object drift. Using information on a point of origin and local currents, it calculates the most likely area to find a person or object in the water.

Weather conditions are currently reported as northeast winds at 23 mph with seas up to 8 feet and 2 miles of visibility.

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