HONOLULU (KHON2) — A missing swimmer was swept out to sea at Makapuu Beach Monday afternoon. Honolulu Ocean Safety Services (HOSS) personnel have been searching for him since then.
HOSS Chief John Titchen confirmed that the missing swimmer is identified as Malik Dobson, a 24-year-old man from the Big Island. The search continues for Dobson.
According to HOSS, Dobson was last seen wearing surf board shorts and was carrying a boogie board while climbing on the Makapuu rocks.
“We started searching about 4 p.m. yesterday, after we were notified,” Titchen said. “We have ten personnel in the water with fins and tubes right now, and we have four personnel, two on each jet ski, in the water.”
Titchen said essentially they are trying to do a uniform bridge search of the area where Dobson was last seen and where he would have been swept in by the current.
The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) Air 1 has joined the search and is scanning the areas where Dobson could have been swept away from above. HFD is using drift buoys to help determine the direction of the current.
HFD Captain Malcolm Medrano said they “have made their way towards Hanauma Bay and beyond at this point, so again, those drift buoys are indicators and help determine where the search should be focused.”
However, there are a couple of challenges for the search team. Titchen said they are currently facing strong currents and high surf. As they continue to search, the main goal is to keep everyone safe, including the victim’s family who are watching from afar.
Medrano said he is aware of community members who are trying to help with the search but advises about current hazardous conditions.
“The advice should be to come and talk to the incident commander who has responsibility for the operations at this scene, to at least let us know that you are here at the scene,” Medrano said, “but we’re fully capable with the local resources and also the federal support.”
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Dobson’s uncle says the family is grateful for the first responders and the prayers from the community. Officials say rescue resources will continue to be mobilized for the next three days before being reassessed.