Scuba divers with various ocean sports companies help search... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scuba divers with various ocean sports companies help search for missing tourist

The Sea Hawk returns from another round of searching for the missing diver The Sea Hawk returns from another round of searching for the missing diver
Matt Zimmerman Matt Zimmerman
The dive site "Baby Barge" where it is believed  Matt Curley got separated from his group The dive site "Baby Barge" where it is believed Matt Curley got separated from his group
John Pang John Pang
Courtney Krantz Courtney Krantz

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KAHALA, HAWAII KAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - US Coast Guard and Honolulu fire crews spent a second day searching for a missing scuba diver in waters off Kahala. So far, nothing has turned up.

People in the ocean sports industry are rallying around Island Divers, the company that had taken the tourist out Monday, offering to assist with the search.

The Sea Hawk pulled up to the dock in Hawaii Kai, its team of scuba divers looking weary. For two straight days, the men and women have been working in shifts searching the waters off Waialae Beach Park for a missing diver from New York.

"It's hard. I mean, everybody is emotional," Matt Zimmerman, Island Divers owner, said. "Our big concern is for the family right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

The missing visitor, identified by sources as Matt Curley, 28, had gone on an excursion with Island Divers to a site known as Baby Barge, a popular resting place for reef sharks and green sea turtles.

Zimmerman says the people in the group, including Curley, were all certified, trained divers.

"We don't know what happened," he said. "I personally wasn't there. From what I've been able to ascertain, we don't know what happened. This person was separated from the group."

Other ocean sports providers based out of Koko Marina say this is a company's worst nightmare, and that you quickly learn in this industry that it's not a matter of if, but when. They say staff members at Island Divers are good people, and they are concerned about whether the company will survive this emotionally.

"Being in the industry, it takes a lot out you," John Pang, SeaBreeze Watersports, said while getting choked up. "You put yourself in their position and you don't want to see that happen to anybody."

SeaBreeze Watersports, located two doors down from Island Divers, didn't schedule any customers Tuesday afternoon so it could help with the search.

"When something like this happens in this industry, we're all in it together," Courtney Krantz, SeaBreeze Watersports, said. "We feel really bad for the family that's waiting and for, obviously, the people that were out there that day."

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says it has no record of complaints against Island Divers. The US Coast Guard says it has an open investigation into the company, but would not elaborate.

For Pang, none of that mattered. He grabbed his scuba gear and headed for the search site.

"I was a dive instructor for six years...sorry," he said while fighting back tears. "I put myself in their feet. It's tough. I just want to get out and see what we can do."

"It means a lot to us that people reach out," Zimmerman said. "We are competitors for the tourism industry. But when we're on the water, we're all family."

 

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