SANTA RITA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the active search for the diver off Rick’s Reef on Guam at sunset on Feb. 4. The 35-year-old diver remains missing.
“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the diver during this trying time,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “We are extremely grateful to our local and military partners and good Samaritans for their tremendous effort over the past few days. Working closely with the Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department, and U.S. Navy colleagues, the team conducted more than 30 search patterns saturating an area of more than 233 square nautical miles. We suspended the active search today after sunset pending new information.”
On Feb. 4, a coordinated on-scene team of local and military responders continued search efforts throughout the day. The USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) crew remained on the scene searching. U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five partners conducted sub-surface searches after reviewing data gathered by their underwater equipment overnight. A Station Apra Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew rejoined the search effort at first light and supported the EOD team’s efforts. Guam Fire Department crews also continued their search effort.
Responders involved in the search include:
- Guam Fire Department Jetski operators, boat crews, and divers
- Guam Police Department crews
- U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two-Five MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter crews
- U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five
- U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Joint Rescue Sub-Center watch
- USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) crew
- U.S. Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews
- Private pilot volunteer
“Aviation support is absolutely critical when we work these cases, but resources are finite. We do not have any organic Coast Guard air capability on the island, so we sincerely appreciate the support of our Navy partners from HSC-25 and the drone operators from Guam Fire. In this case, we also had a private pilot volunteer aerial search time on day two, which helped greatly as the probable search area continued to expand,” said Lt. Cmdr. Field Cassiano, search and rescue mission coordinator.
At 10:36 a.m. on Feb. 2., watchstanders at FM/SG JSRC received notification from a diver that his dive buddy was missing. Watchstanders immediately contacted Guam Fire and requested air support from HSC-25. The Frederick Hatch diverted from their local patrol, and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched from Station Apra Harbor. A joint incident command post was established on the beach nearby to help coordinate combined search efforts.
Weather conditions were favorable for searching, calming after the first day, with wind waves building to 4 feet and east winds 15 to 20 knots on the third day. A rip current statement remains in effect.
While the active search is suspended, anyone with further information or possible sightings in the coming days should contact the U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Joint Rescue Sub-Center at +1 671-355-4824.