Search Teams Locate Missing Diver’s Equipment
Multiple agencies continued on Wednesday to search for 47-year-old Nelson Kupenes of Waimea.
Around 9:45 a.m., the Kauaʿi Fire Department’s (KFD) 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 Hanapēpē Bay and Wahiawa Bay, just east of what is commonly known as Glass Beach.
KFD rescue divers were deployed and, with the assistance of Kauaʿi 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.
Search areas have encompassed land and air between Hanapēpē Bay and Wahiawa Bay, as well as more than 900 nautical miles.
“I want to thank all of the people and the agencies they represent for their assistance in this comprehensive operation,” said Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce. “Everyone put in an incredible effort, and without the teamwork, we might not have been able to recover Nelson’s gear and hopefully bring some semblance of closure to his family and friends today.”
The active search has been suspended pending any new information.