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Search suspended for missing swimmer off Makapuu

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

The search for a missing swimmer off Makapuu has been called off after another unsuccessful search today.

The Honolulu Fire Department, Ocean Safety Department and the U.S. Coast Guard have suspended their search for 24-year-old Malik Dobson, who was reported as being swept off a rocky ledge at the East Oahu beach on Monday. Today marks the fourth straight day that crews looked for Dobson.

A Honolulu Fire Department helicopter and a boat with four divers deployed at about 5:30 a.m., and was later joined by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter looking for the missing young man in waters off Makapuu Beach Park.

HFD deployed a drone team in the search effort today.

Family, friends and volunteers had also planned to spread out later today along the shoreline spanning the Ka Iwi Coast between Makapuu and Sandy Beach to assist in the search.

Over the prior three days, HFD has been collaborating with Ocean Safety, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy in the search effort.

Today, the focus for HFD was largely around the area Dobson was last seen, which was on the side of the bay below the Makapuu Lighthouse where tide pools exist.

“We’re focusing our search on where he was last seen,” said HFD Capt. Malcolm Medrano.

The search ended at around 6 p.m., and the Coast Guard “suspended the active search pending any new information,” it said in a Twitter update.

HFD and Ocean Safety first began the search at about 4 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call for a missing swimmer.

The search 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 Tuesday, and then Wednesday with crews deployed 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.

High surf and winds, which have prevailed over the past few days, can cause stronger than normal currents at Makapuu.

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 Wednesday. “Our faith will get us through.”

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