PORT ALLEN — A multi-agency search for a missing diver started Monday along the coastline of Glass Beach in Port Allen.
Initially triggered by a missing-persons report around 10 a.m. Monday, the Kaua‘i Police Department responded to Glass Beach, and pulled in the support of the different agencies including the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Air 1 helicopter, KFD Ocean Safety Bureau and U.S. Coast Guard.
Nelson Kupenes of Waimea had gone to Glass Beach to dive in increasingly rough ocean conditions Sunday afternoon.
“He liked those kinds of conditions,” said Doreen Kua, Kupenes’ girlfriend, who did not accompany Kupenes on his outing.“He said he was going to Glass Beach, and possibly Camp 1.”
Shikera Wilhelm, a friend of Kua’s, was with the group of Kupenes’ friends and relatives Monday, monitoring the search efforts.
“Everybody calls him ‘Napkin,’” Wilhelm said. “He likes to go out by himself because he always says he can dive away from the rough water. If it gets too rough, he usually comes out.”
Suspicions arose Monday when Kupenes did not show up for work.
“That’s his boss’s truck,” Kua said. “He was using it, and parks there when he dives at Glass Beach. The truck’s been there all night since Sunday. If he went to Camp 1, he would walk to the trail and hike in. But he always comes home before going to work.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.