Coast Guard suspends search for missing Swedish woman off Oahu’s North Shore

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 6:33 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its active search for a Swedish woman who was swept out to sea on Oahu’s North Shore.

However, officials said the Honolulu Fire Department will continue its search through the day on Monday.

Multiple agencies scoured the waters all weekend, but have not found any signs of 20-year-old Hanna Wanerskog, who was reported missing on Friday.

The Coast Guard initially said she jumped off the rock and was swept out by a current. But after gathering more information, officials said the woman was actually on the beach with two other people between areas known as Gilligan’s and The Jump Rock when they were overcome by a large wave. They were swept out, and two of them made it back to shore.

“She did get into trouble and those two other individuals did try to help her but were unsuccessful," said Lt. Kerry Atwood of the city’s Ocean Safety division.

A native of Sweden, Wanerskog was at Waimea Bay Friday night, celebrating a friend’s birthday. She was with a group of 15 interns with the community organization Surfing the Nations.

She’s been in Hawaii less than a month, doing volunteer work for Surfing the Nations, such as working with at-risk youth and feeding the poor.

“Hanna is a strong young lady. Determined, brave and full of life," the group said in a statement today. "She ... is very loved by many in Sweden and by the internship she was a part of. "

The Coast Guard said helicopters, cutters, and other tools are being used in the search.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the public and ask they keep a safe distance from the search area between Waimea Bay and Haleiwa,” said Lt. j.g. Seth Gross, command duty officer, Sector Honolulu Command Center. “Vessels and aircrafts not specifically involved in the search, but operating in the search area, can impede our efforts by forcing responders to deviate from their search patterns to avoid a collision or waste time redirecting traffic.”

Ocean conditions were reported to be fairly choppy with northerly winds blowing at 17 miles per hour; 11-foot seas with 8-foot swells, and heavy rain squalls.

Mariners who are in the area were told to keep an eye out for any sign of her.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.