East Hawaii News

Coast Guard Suspends Active Search For Missing Kona Woman

October 29, 2015, 12:58 PM HST
* Updated October 29, 3:09 PM
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The United States Coast Guard called off its active search for 33-year-old Kona woman Amber Savant, but says support will still be provided to the Hawai’i County Fire Department, who is continuing its search for the missing free diver.

Savant went missing Sunday afternoon while free diving in an area offshore of the Kapoho Bay area. She was last seen about 150 yards near the outer reef break. She was reportedly separated from the group she was in the water with by a rip current that pulled her into deeper waters.

Items identified as belonging to Savant, including a spear gun, fins, gloves, snorkel, mask, weight belt with knife, and five pounds of dive weights, have been recovered during the four-day search effort. The items were located from Kapoho Bay, according to the USCG, but exact location was not immediately available.

During the USCG active effort, a total of 4,516 square miles were searched and three self-locating datum marker buoys were deployed. Its search came up empty.

“To suspend an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult decisions to make,” said Cmdr. Arex Avanni, deputy commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We saturated the area in an attempt to locate Ms. Savant, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search. Our prayers go out to her loved ones.”

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A USCG spokesperson tells Big Island Now that despite the discontinuation of the Coast Guard’s search for Savant, a liason is in close connection with the HFD and the Coast Guard is prepared to resume the search should new information arise or developments in HFD’s search need assistance.

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The search efforts were joined by an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, as well as crews of USGC Cutter Kittiwake and Galveston Island. HFD efforts include jet ski and helicopter crews.  A Navy MH-60 helicopter crew from the 37th Helicopter Squadron out of Marine Corps Base Hawai’i in Kaneohe also joined in on the search earlier in the week.

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