KILAUEA — Just 13 miles from the spot where a swimmer was swept out to sea this weekend, the search for another missing man is underway.
“This is unique,” said Kaua‘i U.S. Coast Guard Station Chief Petty Officer Timothy Elhajj. “To have this back-to-back, in the North Shore area…it’s rare.”
USCG reported that a 44-year-old — identified by the Kaua‘i Police Department as Kilauea resident Huy Nguyen — was swimming with his family near the Kilauea River mouth at Rock Quarry Beach (Kahili Beach) when he went missing late evening Monday.
“He gave his surfboard to his son, his son caught a wave, and he looked back and his dad wasn’t there anymore,” said Elhajj.
Local surfers on the scene called KPD dispatch, and first responders arrived on the scene around 7:45 p.m.
Personnel conducted a search along the shoreline and wooded area around the beach until 11 p.m. Monday, with USCG continuing the search overnight, county officials reported.
The operation resumed in force Tuesday morning.
The search is a unified effort with personnel from the Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Hanalei, Lihu‘e and Kaiakea (Kealia) stations, Rescue 3, Air 1, USCG, KFD’s Ocean Safety Bureau, KPD, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the battalion chief.
Rescuers were dealing with a rough sea state, featuring 8-to-9-foot swells.
The search party is utilizing ocean assets along with USCG, U.S. Navy and KFD helicopters.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, the road to the beach was blocked off by KPD.
According to the USCG, Nguyen is a father of three, is 5’7” and weighs 135 pounds. Nguyen is of Asian descent, with long, dark hair. He was last seen wearing camouflage shorts.
Many of the resources being utilized to find Nguyen were transferred directly from the search for New Jersey swimmer Matthew Preziose, who was last seen at Lumaha‘i Beach Saturday.
This search was officially suspended at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The USCG, KPD and KFD briefed Preziose’s family Tuesday morning.
After three days of searching, there were no signs of the 25-year-old visitor.
The search went 20 nautical miles to the north, to Kilauea Lighthouse in the east, and to the Ke‘e Beach lifeguard stand in Ha‘ena in the west, according to officials.
“We searched that whole beach area. It was snorkeled extensively,” said Elhajj. “We did a few dives yesterday and it didn’t yield any results.”
Preziose went missing around 1 p.m. on Saturday after he, along with another swimmer, were reported to be in distress about 200 yards from the shore at Lumaha‘i.
The other swimmer was able to make it safely to shore, but Preziose, who appeared to be unconscious, was swept out to sea.
Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island