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Search undertaken for missing bodysurfer

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About two dozen firefighters, the Coast Guard and lifeguards searched for several hours yesterday for a local man who may have run into trouble while bodysurfing at Sandy Beach three days ago.

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

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

Divers with the fire department entered the water and firefighters aboard a fire boat and helicopter scanned 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 3 miles offshore, said De Nyse. It later switched to a broader search between Koko Head and Diamond Head and up to 6 miles offshore, he said.

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

Firefighters and the Coast Guard halted their search just before 6 p.m. yesterday. They will resume searching this morning.

The Coast Guard planned to continue broadcasting an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast throughout the night.

Kaowili is the father of former Chaminade University softball standout Keli-Grace Kaowili-Sanatian and brother of local musician Ocean Kaowili.

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