Search continues for missing diver off Kaena Point

UPDATE: Nicholas Spotkaeff’s body was discovered by a private fishing vessel, and found floating 10 miles offshore from Kuilima.

The family of the Nicholas Spotkaeff is holding out hope. But it hasn’t been easy.

“Today we’re supposed to go on a family outing. Today because my husband birthday was on Friday. We were supposed to go church and then go on a family outing, but we cancelled everything,” said Maryknoll Spotkaeff, who is Nicholas’ mother.

Spotkaeff was diving with his son on Saturday and was last seen at around 1 p.m. His mother says he’s an experienced diver with a big heart.

“He likes everybody and he shares with everybody. He doesn’t take you for what you’re worth. He take you period,” she said.

On Sunday, the Honolulu Fire Department, Ocean Safety, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources continued their search for Spotkaeff by air, land, and sea.

“Our first crews came out here at first light and they started their ocean search. We had our rescue crew and three, actually, water craft, jet skis in the ocean doing a near shore search,” said James Perkins, battalion chief with the Honolulu Fire Department.

While the fire department is focusing their search near the shoreline, the Coast Guard is looking for Spotkaeff farther offshore.

“We believe the current would be taking him further offshore. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re looking offshore if he’s still out there swimming,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Shannon Gilreath, Commander of Sector Honolulu.

In fact, that’s where some of Spotkaeff’s gear was found.

“I believe we recovered [Saturday] his dive float and his spear gun. A boat that was fishing offshore came across that about a mile-and-a-half offshore,” said Capt. Gilreath.

Officials say finding that gear is helpful and means they’re searching in the right areas.

“We pray to God. We praying to God that he will be ok. I mean not totally ok, but alive at least,” said Spotkaeff’s mother. “The heart really sore, especially for a mother. That’s your son. You have children.”

The Coast Guard will continue its search overnight. The Honolulu Fire Department will resume its search at first light Monday.

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