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Search for snorkeler continues

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Maui firefighters and lifeguards will resume searching at first light today for a Colorado woman who was last seen snorkeling Thursday near Black Rock in Kaanapali.

But the Coast Guard has ended its search for 54-year-old Tina Fox, who was last seen shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday about 150 feet from the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa.

Fox was wearing a blue bathing suit and fins, but no lifejacket, the Coast Guard said.

Mahina Martin, Maui County spokeswoman, said the currents shifted yesterday and rescuers searched shorelines north of where Fox was last seen.

The Coast Guard ended its mission to find Fox last night. A Coast Guard patrol boat, rescue boat and HH-65 Dolphin helicopter had been assigned to the search.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela Henderson said the Coast Guard searched 50 hours, covering a 380-square-mile area and traveling 1,500 miles. No sign of Fox was found.

A Coast Guard crew also dropped a radio buoy into the ocean to drift with the current and give searchers an idea of where the currents were traveling, Henderson said. The buoy stayed within the Maui triangle, bordered by Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

At daylight yesterday, the Maui Fire Department launched a helicopter and an ocean rescue boat that scanned the ocean surface as lifeguards on personal water craft scoured shoreline waters north of Black Rock, a Maui County spokeswoman said.

On Friday, 16 Maui County divers joined the search, along with crews using two boats, personal water craft and a helicopter.

Maui Fire Battalion Chief Kimo Kino said the search efforts between agencies was "tremendously cohesive."

"It’s a tragic situation and the combined efforts of our department, the lifeguards, police and the Coast Guard are out there to help this woman’s family locate their loved one," he said.

At Fox’s home in Colorado Springs, a woman who answered the phone yesterday declined to comment but thanked the searchers.

While a popular snorkeling spot near resort hotels, Black Rock is also known for its currents and does not have lifeguards, Martin said. The currents in the area were reportedly strong on the day Fox disappeared.


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