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Coast Guard rescues 3 divers off coast of Maui

MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, USCG rescue Maui divers
Archive image: An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point sits on the flight deck of USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) after completing a medical evacuation exercise during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi.

HONOLULU USCG RESCUE DIVERS IN KAHULUI— The Coast Guard rescued three divers who lost contact with their vessel and became stranded approximately 30 miles northeast of Kahului, Maui, Monday.

«These were seasoned divers who became lost after diving for an extended amount of time,» said Lt. Megan Bowis, command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. «It can happen to anyone. By staying together and calling attention to themselves with their fins and splashing we found them.»

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report at 2 p.m. from Station Maui via the Maui Police that an operator of a 23-foot vessel transporting three divers lost contact with them about 20 miles north of Ho’okipa in deep water.

Involved in the rescue were:

  • An MH-65 Dolphin aircrew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point.
  • A 45-foot Reesponse Boat-Medium crew from Station Maui.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) crew.

The Dolphin helicopter crew found the vessel and began the search for the missing divers. The Hercules crew located the missing divers who were waving their flippers in the air and dropped a flare so the boat crew could find the divers. 

HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, USCG rescue Maui divers
Archive image: An HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii, sits on the tarmac at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
U.S. Coast Guard photo illustration by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Once the boat crew rescued the divers, they transported them back to their vessel. Station Maui personnel escorted the boat back to Kahului and conducted a post search and rescue boarding with no violations. There are no reported injuries. 

«Super successful case, these guys stuck together. We got assets out on the scene quickly and we saved three lives,» said Chief Petty Officer Ekahi Lee, officer-in-charge, Coast Guard Station Maui. «We see an increase in bluewater diving; it’s becoming more of a sport than recreation here in Hawaii. We recommend people follow some simple safety tips.»

  • Have all your safety equipment with you: Lights, flotation devices, and have everything marked.
  • Take a Personal Locator Beacon: PLBs are a great waterproof tool that helps us locate you quickly.
  • Stay together and have a plan: Always let others know where you’re going and when you’re coming back. 
  • Be visible: This crew used their flippers and splashing to help searchers see them. Red glow sticks or chemlights are inexpensive, fit in a pocket, and show up well on night-vision instruments. 

Weather on scene was winds at 9 mph and waves to 7 feet. 


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