Coast Guard Rescues Missing Divers Off Molokai

The Coast Guard has rescued three missing divers near Penguin Bank, Molokai, Monday.

Coast Guard Ahi

“The Coast Guard advises all divers to have a dive buoy, signaling device, and reflective equipment,” said Lt. Kevin Edes, command center chief at Sector Honolulu. “This is an outstanding case where effective planning and diligent search efforts brought three people home safe to their families”

The divers were located at 4 p.m. six miles from their original location by a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu. They brought the divers aboard, confirmed they had no injuries and delivered them to their original vessel. The RB-M crew escorted the recreational vessel safely to Hawaii Kai.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point were also involved in the search. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi was diverted to assist with the search. They have resumed their original search for the Marine aviators off the North Shore. The Hercules airplane has joined them.

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 11:20 a.m., from the operator of a 20-foot cuddy cabin vessel stating he was diving with three friends in the vicinity of Penguin Bank when their vessel began to drift away. The three missing divers waited on the surface of the water while the operator recovered the vessel.

After recovering the vessel and returning to their previous location, he could not locate his companions prompting him to search for them and then call the Coast Guard.

Weather conditions were reported as northeast winds at 10 mph with seas up to 3 feet and 10 miles of visibility.

Coast Guard Searching for 3 Missing Divers Off Molokai After Vessel Goes Adrift

The Coast Guard is searching for three missing divers near Penguin Bank, Molokai, Monday.

The missing divers are a 40-year-old man, 30-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy. They were last seen at 10 a.m., wearing full body camouflage wetsuits and are reportedly excellent swimmers.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi was diverted to assist with the search.

Coast Guard Ahi

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

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a call at 11:20 a.m., from the operator of a 20-foot cuddy cabin vessel stating he was diving with three friends in the vicinity of Penguin Bank when their vessel began to drift away.

The three missing divers waited on the surface while the operator attempted to recover the vessel. After recovering the vessel and returning to their previous location, he could not locate his companions.

Weather conditions are currently reported as northeast winds at 10 mph with seas up to 3 feet and 10 miles of visibility.

Anyone with information that may help locate the divers are asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

Life Rafts Found From Missing Marine Helicopters

Search efforts continue Monday for 12 Marine aviators off the North Shore of Oahu.

Coast Guardsmen and a Navy sailor scan the shoreline outside the Haleiwa Incident Command Post in Haleiwa, Hawaii, Jan. 18, 2016. Service members from multiple branches of the military as well as many state and local agencies in Hawaii are searching for 12 Marines who went missing after being involved in a helicopter crash off the the North Shore of Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read/Released)

Coast Guardsmen and a Navy sailor scan the shoreline outside the Haleiwa Incident Command Post in Haleiwa, Hawaii, Jan. 18, 2016. Service members from multiple branches of the military as well as many state and local agencies in Hawaii are searching for 12 Marines who went missing after being involved in a helicopter crash off the the North Shore of Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read/Released)

Air, surface and shoreline assets are actively searching for the survivors and cataloging debris. Of the four life rafts confirmed to be aboard the two aircraft all have been sighted and three have been recovered. Two assets are working to recover the fourth today, sighted Sunday evening north of  Kahuku by a good Samaritan. There is no indication from the sightings that any survivors have been aboard any of the life rafts.

Over Sunday night a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, the Navy warship and the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska searched. On scene today are:

Aircraft: Surface:  Shoreline:
MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
Navy P-3 Orion
Honolulu Fire Department helicopter
Honolulu Police Department helicopter
(1) Navy warships
USNS Salvor, safeguard-class salvage ship,
supporting Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1
Coast Guard Cutters Kiska and Ahi
(2) Ocean Safety jet ski teams
(65) Marines comprising shoreline search teams
Incident Command Post team Honolulu
Incident Command Post team Haleiwa
Hawaii Army National Guard

As of 8 a.m. Monday responders have conducted 89 searches comprising 21,000 sq. nautical miles (24,150 sq. miles) of search effort. The searches are layered on top of each other to provide multiple perspectives and fresh eyes on scene.

The USNS Salvor, a safeguard-class salvage ship from the Military Sealift Command, arrived on scene late Sunday from Pearl Harbor to support the Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1’s efforts to conduct an underwater search of the last know position of the aircraft off Haleiwa with sonar and a remotely operated vehicle. MDSU-1 conducted searches Sunday but did not sight any debris. Anything located in this search can assist search and rescue planners with their analysis of factors and conditions, allowing them to narrow down the search area and maximize the odds of locating the missing Marines.

“Today our country celebrates Martin Luther King. Jr. who once said ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others.’  As we enter the fourth day of around the clock operations I would submit the men and women responding to this search effort are truly answering Dr. King’s question,” said Lt. Scott Carr, Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer.  “Our focus is to locate these Marines and know with absolute certainty we’ve thoroughly canvassed every location we might find them.”

Weather conditions Monday are reportedly 11 mph winds, with seas up to 2 feet and swells of 8 feet. A high surf warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for the North Shore of Oahu.

The public is reminded to use caution along the north and west shores of Oahu as the search continues. Debris should be treated as hazardous material and reported to the Marines at 808-257-8458 or 808-257-3023.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Marine Corps.

For questions specific to the Marine Corps please contact the III Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs officer at 808-216-7183.