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 Response 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.
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.