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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 30, 2002

2 die in Leeward diving accidents

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two men died in separate diving accidents off the Leeward Coast late Friday and early yesterday, officials said.

The first incident began shortly after 11 p.m. Friday when fire department rescue personnel responded to a report of a missing diver at Keawa'ula Bay, also known as Yokohama Bay.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo said the victim was a 43-year-old man from Portland, Ore., in Hawai'i for training with the Navy Reserve. "He was out night diving with two of his buddies, who have local addresses," Soo said.

Soo said victim and two other men began scuba diving about 7:30 p.m. At one point the victim returned to shore, apparently because he was having trouble with a flotation device. The man returned to the water, but his companions became concerned when they returned to shore about 10 p.m. and found a piece of the diver's equipment lying on the beach, Soo said.

Fire department divers, its helicopter and shoreline observers with searchlights looked for the man. The fire department requested help from the Coast Guard, which sent a helicopter and spotted the man's body floating in the water shortly after 2 a.m.

Soo said the man was an experienced scuba diver.

The second incident was reported at 8:23 a.m. yesterday offshore from the Ko Olina Resort, between its first and second lagoons.

Soo said a 40-year-old man was free-diving when he became separated from his two companions.

A group of divers from the Army's 29th Engineering Battalion heard his cries for help, brought him to shore and administered CPR.

Soo said the man had no pulse when firefighters arrived, and further attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

"This guy apparently had some problems with his heart," said Paul Hospodar, a security worker at Ko Olina.

Hospodar said the man had dived at Ko Olina several times in the past.