Search for missing swimmer on Kauai suspended

Published: Mar. 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM HST
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KALAPAKI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - With no sign of missing Klauea man Scott Akina following a four-day air, land and sea-based search, rescuers have suspended the search today.

"Our community join's Scott Akina's family and friends in mourning his loss, and our hearts and prayers are with them during this incredibly difficult time," stated Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. "We also express our gratitude to rescuers from our local, state and federal agencies who have put forth their best effort this week in trying to locate him."

Personnel from the Kaua'i Fire Department, the Kaua'i Police Department, the Ocean Safety Bureau, the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), and the U.S. Coast Guard have been searching for Akina since Tuesday night, after he reportedly went for a swim at Ninini Beach that afternoon and didn't return.

The unified teams worked through hazardous conditions this week, including high surf advisories and strong winds, with up to five vessels, four jet skis, and two helicopters searching the sea and shoreline from Hanam'ulu to Kalheo, while up to 20 police officers walked the coastline on foot from Ahukini Landing to the south end of the Nwiliwili Harbor.

DOCARE and Coast Guard personnel were only expected to be on standby today, but both agencies reported to the scene this morning to assist the Kaua'i police and fire departments in the final day of the search. With no sign of Akina's body, the active search was called off at noon.

"Being able to recover a body following a drowning is always an important goal for our rescuers as we understand that while we cannot ease the pain of the family's loss, it would at least provide them some closure," stated Kaua'i Police Chief Darryl Perry. "Unfortunately, we were not able to accomplish that goal this week. We will continue to respond to any reports of his body possibly being located, but have made the difficult decision to suspend the active search today. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Scott Akina and our sincere appreciation to the crews of the many agencies who assisted in the extensive search effort."

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