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Search for missing diver off Puako suspended Saturday (Feb 20)


HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department suspended the search Saturday for missing 69-year-old Diana Wolking presumed swept out to sea while diving near Puako Beach, Big Island.

“To suspend an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult decisions to make,” said Capt. Shannon Gilreath, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We saturated the area in an attempt to locate Ms. Wolking, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search. Our prayers go out to her loved ones.”

On-scene assets searched approximately 3,900 square miles and deployed three self-locating datum marker buoys.

Involved in the search were an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew both from Air Station Barbers Point, the crew of USCGC Kittiwake and crews of Coast Guard Auxiliary airplanes.

Divers, as well as helicopter and rescue crews from Hawaii County Fire Department also searched.

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu received notification at 7:20 p.m., Wednesday, from good Samaritans on the beach who witnessed Wolking enter the water with scuba gear just before sunset. The watchstanders immediately directed the launch of the Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast requesting the assistance of any mariners in the area.

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