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Crews search for body surfer, 49, near Sandy Beach

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About two dozen firefighters, the Coast Guard, and lifeguards searched for several hours today for a local man who may have ran into trouble while body surfing at Sandy Beach two days ago.

Lance Kaowili, 49, of Oahu, was last seen wearing black board shorts and swim fins at the beach on Thursday, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse. 

The search began about 11 a.m. today after someone found a pair of shorts at Sandy Beach, said Honolulu fire Capt. Robert Main. His family hasn’t been able to confirm that the shorts belong to Kaowili, but they were at the beach looking for him because his truck has been there since Thursday, Main said.

Divers with the fire department entered the water and firefighters aboard a fire boat and helicopter were scanning the ocean for signs of the man, Main said. Firefighters focused their search between Alan Davis Beach and Hanauma Bay.

A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter searched between Makapuu and Koko Head and up to three miles off shore, said De Nyse. It later switched to a broader search between Koko Head and Diamond Head and up to six miles offshore, he said.

Friends told authorities that Kaowili usually body surfs at the beach daily. Firefighters were trying to confirm a report that a hand board and a paipo, or wooden boogie board, possibly belonging to Kaowili, were found at the beach on Thursday.

Firefighters and the Coast Guard planned to search until dark, then decide whether to continue the search tomorrow.

Meanwhile, firefighters rescued a person off Kokokahi Trail in Kaneohe today. About 1 p.m., firefighters responded to a call to help a hiker with a leg injury.

The fire helicopter was diverted from the East Oahu search, picked up the injured hiker, and took the person to paramedics waiting nearby. 


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