Swimmer sought off Kehena


Rescue crews continued searching Monday for a swimmer in distress who went missing in the surf at Kehena Beach in Puna on Sunday afternoon.

Hawaii County Fire Department Capt. Alex Almeida reported that rescue teams responded initially at 3:09 p.m. Sunday to a report that a male swimmer, about 30 years old, was swept out of the bay by high surf and strong currents. A surfer who attempted a rescue said the victim went under about 100 yards off shore, Almeida said.

Two rescue divers entered the water and a U.S. Coast Guard plane assisted in the search, which was suspended at 5:40 p.m. Sunday due to poor water visibility and approaching darkness. The missing swimmer was not identified.

The search continued at first light Monday with divers in the water, spotters in the air, and personnel walking the shoreline, said assistant Chief Aaron Arbles.

The search will continue through today and then be discontinued if the victim is not found. Standard procedure for search and rescue operations is to continue looking for victims on land for five days, in rivers for four days, and for three days in the ocean, Arbles said.

 

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