East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Diver Found Unresponsive off Punalu’u

July 9, 2015, 3:50 PM HST
* Updated July 10, 9:38 AM
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***Updated at 8:45 p.m. to Include information from the Hawai’i County Fire Department. ***

The Hawai’i County Fire Department has confirmed that a man found floating 150 yards offshore from the Punalu’u pavillions has died. This corrects earlier information from the United States Coast Guard. HFD says the body of Robert Furtado was taken to shore by a HFD helicopter and a fire rescue specialist utilizing the Billy Pugh net.

***Updated at 7:30 p.m. to include additional information. ***

The 60-year-old man who went missing Thursday morning while free diving near Punalu’u was located at 4:35 p.m. floating about 600 yards offshore.

An aircrew from a United States Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter spotted the man and a Hawai’i County Fire Department jet ski crew took him out of the water.

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Coast Guard officials say the man was unresponsive when taken to shore, where medical service personnel were waiting. No additional details were available at the time of this update.

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***Original story posted at 3:50 p.m.***

A search is underway in an area near Punalu’u for a free diver who went missing Thursday morning.

According to the United States Coast Guard, watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu Command Center were alerted by the Hawai’i County Fire Department of the missing man at 8:15 a.m. Thursday.

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The Coast Guard and HFD are searching for the man, identified as 60-year-old Robert Furtado. Authorities say he was last seen wearing camouflage boardshorts. The man’s spear and dive buoy have been located about 50 to 100 yards offshore of Punalu’u.

Crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, and a helicopter aircrew, jet-ski, boatcrew, and on-shore HFD party are searching the area for signs of Furtado.

A command post at Punalu’u Beach Park has also been established.

Anyone with information should call the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at (808) 842-2600.

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