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Coast Guard suspends search for missing diver

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:23 a.m. HST, Jul 4, 2010

The Coast Guard has suspended a search for a missing 46-year-old diver who was last seen Friday in waters off Maui.

The search began about 2 p.m. shortly after Edward A. Hickey disappeared while diving about 140 feet below the surface, three miles west of Lanai, the Coast Guard said. 

Hickey, of Olowalu Village, had been with the Aulani, which is owned by Kealohi Fishing, Maui police said. He was wearing a professional dive suit.

The Coast Guard suspended its search at 7:40 p.m. yesterday after rescuers estimated they had searched beyond Hickey's chances of survival, said Bob Coster, Coast Guard search and rescue controller.

Hickey would have had to decompress for an hour half-way to the surface or else would have gotten the bends, Coster said. If he had the bends, he probably wouldn't have been able to swim or lift his head above the surface.

The Coast Guard scoured the ocean surface by helicopter and two vessels, searching about 320 square miles.

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