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Search resumes for man, 24, swept off rocks at Makapuu

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat and its crew navigate large waves near Makapuu Point today on the third day of search efforts for a 24-year-old man who was reportedly swept into the ocean.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat and its crew navigate large waves near Makapuu Point today on the third day of search efforts for a 24-year-old man who was reportedly swept into the ocean.

First responders resumed their search at first light today for a man swept off of rocks into the ocean at Makapuu on Monday afternoon.

The Honolulu Fire Department, Ocean Safety, and U.S. Coast Guard continue to search for a third day for 24-year-old Malik Dobson, who was reportedly swept from rocks he had climbed onto after bodysurfing at Makapuu.

The Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety first began the search at about 4 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call for a missing swimmer near the lighthouse side of Makapuu Beach Park.

The search was focused in that area after Dobson’s personal belongings were found near the area where he was last seen.

On Tuesday, HFD said a coordinated action plan was created with input from all agencies as well as the U.S. Navy, which involved searching underwater and along the shoreline as well as offshore, using computer-aided drift models and buoys.

The Coast Guard searched offshore with an HC-130 airplane, MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and the Cutter Joseph Gerczak, in coordination with the Navy, which searched with a helicopter and aircrew.

The search continued today, and crews looked from Makapuu Point and along the Hanauma Bay coastline.

Dobson was briefly seen 100 feet from shore shortly after being swept in, but was not seen again after the initial sighting. He was last seen wearing a black rash guard and blue-striped shorts.

Searches concluded at about 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and today due to limited visibility. They will resume Thursday at first light.

Ocean Safety Chief John Titchen said Dobson was likely climbing up onto the rocks to get out of strong currents on Monday, which is a natural reaction.

High surf and winds, which have prevailed over the past few days, can cause stronger than normal currents at Makapuu, an “experts-only” beach, he said.

Dobson’s family, friends and extended church family have been camped out along the shoreline since Monday evening, watching search efforts, holding vigil, and praying that he will be found.

Pastor Shon Kihewa, Dobson’s uncle, described him as an intelligent, charismatic boy who was always willing to lend a helping hand to others. He said the family learned today that a pair of shorts and a shirt were found, but there were still no signs of his nephew.

“We’re just praying, holding onto hope,” he said. “Our faith will get us through.”

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