Missing diver search suspended, gear recovered

‘ELE‘ELE — Multiple agencies continued to search for 47-year-old Nelson Kupenes of Waimea on Wednesday.

Around 9:45 a.m., the Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Rescue 3 aboard Air 1, along with KFD’s Ocean Safety South Rove ski team, located the missing diver’s floater and float line. The location of the equipment was about 25 to 30 yards offshore between Hanapepe Bay and Wahiawa Bay, just east of what is commonly known as Glass Beach.

KFD rescue divers were deployed and, with the assistance of Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD) personnel, the South Rove ski team, and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) personnel via a USCG 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M), they were able to recover two rubber slippers, two spearguns and a weight belt.

However, they were unable to locate Kupenes.

The initial report of a missing diver was made on Monday at approximately 7:50 a.m. According to the report, Kupenes was last seen preparing for a dive Sunday afternoon at Glass Beach in ‘Ele‘ele.

KPD personnel continued to lead today’s search efforts in collaboration with KFD, Ocean Safety Bureau, USCG, and Rescue 3 aboard Air 1. All agencies have been working together on land, air and sea search efforts since Monday.

Other agencies also assisted in Wednesday’s search, including the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and personnel from the Japanese Coast Guard vessel, Kojima.

Search areas have encompassed land and air between Hanapepe Bay and Wahiawa Bay, as well as more than 900 nautical miles.

The active search has been suspended pending any new information.


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